(Tom Kha Gai)
1 quart chicken stock
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, cracked open with the flat side of a knife
3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried, hand torn
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger or galangal peeled and sliced into large chunks
2 small Thai chilies, halved lengthwise (optional)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)*
8-ounces fresh mushrooms, rinsed
8-ounces sugar snap peas
4 limes, juiced
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Thai or holy basil leaves (I substituted sweet basil leaves.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lemon grass,
kaffir lime leaves, ginger, chilies, peas and garlic. Lower the heat to medium-low,
cover, and gently simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth.
Uncover and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce*, mushrooms, lime juice, basil
and chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken thoroughly; season with salt
and pepper. Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls.
Garnish with cilantro. Be careful to avoid chewing the lemongrass, ginger, or lime
Yield: 4 servings
*You may substitute Soy Sauce for the Fish Sauce, if you do not care for fish.
I serve this with warm cooked brown rice or bean thread noodles. I also offer cracked red pepper, minced Thai chilies or Sriracha sauce for those who like the soup with a kick.
I have also used this soup recipe using shrimp, scallops or left-over turkey.