Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kha Gai

When I was living in Thailand I fell in love with Tom Kha Gai. This is a spicy hot chicken soup that is all about balance of flavours. This is my recipe and it’s pretty good if I do say so myself. Give it a go and let me know how you go. Keep in mind that you can add more or less of each ingredient to balance it out to the flavours you like. You can also make a seafood or tofu version if you don’t like chicken. Depending how hungry you are this serves 4-ish.

Tom Kha Gai - chilli, kaffir lime, galangal, coriander

Get a big pot and add all of these ingredients on a low heat so it gently simmers away:

      • 3-4 cups of chicken stock (add more at the end if you need to make it more soupy or to stretch it to more people)
      • 1 teaspoon palm sugar (use brown sugar if you don’t have this)
      • 1 teaspoon chilli paste
      • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, finely sliced
      • 2 coriander roots, scraped clean first
      • 2 chillis, finely sliced (it depends how hot they are and how hot you like it, you may like to add more or less)
      • 4cm piece of Galangal, finely sliced (I think this is essential – if your supermarket doesn’t have it check out your local farmers markets or Asian grocer – if it was hard to find make sure you buy some extra and freeze it for next time, you’ll want to make this recipe again)
      • 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
      • 1 tin coconut milk (you may experiment with different brands – I used one I don’t usually use for these photos and it wasn’t very milky)

You can strain the bits and pieces out of the broth after simmering all the yummy flavours into it. I usually just leave it all in and put a little plate or bowl on the table for people to scoop these bits out. I find by leaving them in you retain more flavour.

Tom Kha Gai Broth

Once your broth is simmering away nicely you can then add more goodness. This is how you do it.

Cooking Tom Kha Gai

4 boneless chicken thighs. You can use breast but I find the thighs have more flavour. I brown these then drop them in to the broth to finishing cooking. When the chicken is cooked take it out and shred it or chop into small bite sized pieces and mix it back in.

Tom Kha Gai - fish sauce, lime, coriander, tomato, mushroom, corn

Then splash into your big pot:

      • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
      • 1-2 cups Mushrooms, chopped (pick your favourites)
      • 1 tablespoon lime juice
      • ½ cup Coriander, roughly chopped
      • ½-1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
      • 6ish spears baby corn, chopped (I don’t always do this but it adds another vegetable to the meal)

Serve it with a big bowl of rice. You scoop some rice into your bowl and top with the soup. I also have a dish of lime slices, chilli flakes or fresh sliced chilli, coriander and fish sauce on the table so that people can add a little more to suit their palate.

Simmering Tom Kha Gai

The quantities in this recipe are variable. The important thing is to keep tasting it and if you need to add a little more of anything just do it. I don’t make it too spicy – my 3 year old eats this. If people want it hotter they just add extra chilli to their bowl.

Enjoy and let me know how you go.

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