Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Soup Cooked with Coconut Cream and Galangal)
For the spice base
- 4 slices galangal, (rehydrated if using dried)
- ¼ cup sliced lemongrass, (lower portion of the stalk only)
- 2 pairs kaffir lime leaves, ribs removed
- 2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 bird's eye chili, (use more for more heat)
- 2 tablespoons coriander roots and stems
- 2 slices ginger
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, dissolved in a teaspoon of water to make a paste
To make the soup
To finish the dish
- ¼ cup lime juice
Make the spice base
- Grind all the solid ingredients in the spice base list. Pour in the fish sauce and diluted coconut sugar slowly to make grinding easier. You don't need to make a paste. You just want to pound everything to small pieces.
Cook the soup
- Pour the chicken bone broth into a pot and add the spice base. Bring to the boil.
- Stir in the chicken, mushrooms, tomato, lemongrass, scallions and a tablespoon of fish sauce.
- When the broth starts to boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Pour in the coconut cream.
- Over medium heat and with the pot uncovered, continue cooking the soup over a gentle boil until the chicken and mushrooms are cooked through.
- Taste the soup. Add more fish sauce if too bland.
- Off the heat, stir in the lime juice.
- Taste and adjust the amount of fish sauce and lime juice, if needed.
Serve the tom kha gai
- Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with torn cilantro and serve.
- If using freshly grated coconut (should be mature, of course), squeeze the coconut without adding water to get pure coconut cream.
- If using canned coconut milk, chill unopened in the fridge for a few hours. Open the can and scoop out the thick cream that floats on top. Use that and discard the liquid underneath.
- If using powdered, dissolve in the least amount of water to make coconut cream.
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