Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tom Kha Gai: Thai Coconut Soup

Today I bring you the last recipe to wrap up the month of soups:  Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup)

Check out the other soup recipes from this month:  Broccoli Cheese Soup, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Italian Wedding Soup

Apparently Tom Kha Gai is a really popular Thai soup.  And from what I can tell, it seems like it's the Thai equivalent of chicken noodle soup, especially great when you're sick.

This was my first time venturing into Thai food at home.  This particular recipe doesn't require any "specialty" ingredients which means it's probably not very authentic, but hey, I went for it.  Don't let the name fool you, and don't be intimidated, cooking doesn't get much easier than this!

The flavors of this soup hit all over your tongue, sweet and sour, and the spice hits the back of your throat.  I will definitely make this again because it was so deliciously interesting and unlike anything else I've tasted.  Not to mention it was really quick to make!

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup)
Adapted from Food Renegade
Yield:  3-4 servings

1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock
1 (14.5 oz) can coconut milk
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
Juice of 2 limes
Salt (to taste)
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed (optional) (I used shredded pork because that's what I had leftover in the fridge)
1-2 green onions, chopped (optional)
Chopped cilantro (optional)
Rice noodles (optional)

Bring the stock to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the top and add coconut milk, lime juice, red pepper flakes, ginger, and meat (if using). Simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with cilantro and green onions.
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  1. One of my very favorites! I've never tried it at home but this is so simple, I think I'm going to have to do it. I'll be adding some chilies in oil though for a kick! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I LOVE coconut chicken soup. One of my favs. One of my favorite Thai restaurants in Boston always added mushrooms and green onions to theirs, so I may do the same, but either way I will definitely try your recipe! Thanks!

  3. I will absolutely try this recipe soon. I'd try it right now if I had green onion on hand!

  4. Hmm i think this is a very interesting recipe because it looks so good. I will try it when i will go home tonight. Thanks for sharing and i promise to come back to tell you the result.

  5. Okay, so I'm a sucker for a good soup and love making it because it lasts the whole week for school lunches.
    This soup is REALLY very simple! I was able to take this recipe and really run with it. I decided instead of chicken I was going to use small shrimps that were on sale. One of my major "problems" with Thai food is there are never enough vegetables; so I added some, leeks! Added a whole new flavor and dimension of flavor.
    Found the broth to be a bit bland though (might have been that I didn't buy fresh ginger. I added some other stuff as well...hoisin sauce, sriracha made the broth amazing! I also couldn't find rice noodles, instead i cooked some egg noodles in the stock as it was boiling.

    1. You should definitely use fresh ginger next time. Good chicken stock (preferably homemade) can make a big difference too, and also salt. I know you don't like to add salt (I was the same way until I saw the light!), but salt can make all the difference in a lot of dishes. If anything tastes a little bland, I usually start with salt. Kosher or sea salt, not table salt.

      This soup is the perfect base for all kinds of additions.

  6. If your grocery store has them, rice noodles can be found in the international section (wherever the Chinese ingredients and Mexican products are found).

  7. Thai Gourmet has a veggie version with carrots, mushrooms, onions, and broccoli in it - I love all the veggies with chicken and some thai chili paste for kick. Yum. I think I'm going to make it tonight!

    1. Last night I added all the optional ingredients listed except the green onions and liked that it was bulkier. I'll have to try it adding some of the veggies you mentioned too. I should get some thai chili paste so Kevin can add more heat to his soup (I'm a wimp).