Originally a chicken dish with copious amounts of galangal (think ginger), Chicken Coconut Soup has evolved into a sumptuous and decadent blend of creamy coconut milk infused with the crown glories of Thai spices - galangal, garlic, Thai chilies, and lemongrass. It is a soup to lovingly tend to and a soup to linger over.
This version of Chicken Coconut Soup has one ingredient that is missing from the original version, a herb called "phak si", which is a dill weed. Fear not. As unique as this ingredient is, cilantro brings in a similar flavor profile.
When recreating authentic recipes always remember slow and low, take your time and layer your flavors accordingly. First, your oils followed by vegetables, then aromatics and spices, etc. etc. .... a little at a time... Each flavor builds upon the last.
Red Thai chili's can be hard to find so I would substitute them for chili flakes. Not quite the same but its something you can pretty much find in any supermarket and will give you the heat you need for this dish.
Falls in love with a deep squeeze of lime
Stir memories of a beach in Koi Tao, lounging on Thai cushions at sunset
In the spice chest you'll find garlic, galangal and Thai chilies
Suggestions and Alternatives
- Be sure to sweat your vegetables well before adding any ingredient.
- Before adding your mushrooms, wash them well, pat dry and saute them in a separate pan. Get your pan smoking hot (No oil at first), then add the mushrooms (without oil), after 3 minutes then add 1 tbs. oil, remove from heat, add salt and let cook for 1 more minute. Remove from pan and place in a paper towel to remove excess oil. Then add to soup.
- If you can't find "Kaffir Lime Leaves", Micro-fine 3 limes.
- Galangal can be substituted with ginger (Micro-fined).
Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil quality
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 4 tablespoons red bell peppers diced
- 1/2 stalk lemongrass crushed
- 1 whole galangal sliced
- 2 whole Thai chili sliced
- 1/2 cup yellow onion minced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms sliced
- 4 cups chicken stock quality
- 1 can coconut milk 12 oz.
- 3 teaspoon lime juice
- 4 teaspoon fish sauce quality
- 2 chicken breast sliced
- 3 whole kaffir lime leaves torn
- 4 whole Thai basil leaves torn
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- In a large pot add coconut oil, minced garlic, red bell pepper, lemongrass, galangal, Thai chilis, yellow onions , and mushrooms.
- Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until onions are translucent and red peppers are soft.
- Add chicken stock, coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, and chicken breast.
- Add kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil leaves
- Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Simmer and allow to rest for another 5 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro.