"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Souper Bowl Special: Tom Kha Gai soup

by Julie on February 7, 2012

in Soup is Easy, Soups

Tom Kha Gai

SouperBowl Surprise

This is the sixth year we’ve done some variation on the national Soup Swap, so obviously we’re playing fast and loose with the rules.

The original Soup Swap day of Jan. 21 wasn’t convenient for anyone. Super Bowl Sunday was, however, So that’s when we gathered our troops, bringing various and sundry wines and soups to Kelli’s house.

I’ve said this before and it bears repeating: Teenagers got nuthin’ on a bunch of middle aged women when they’ve got their food and wine on.

But this soup shut us right up:

Tom Kha Gai – that is, Thai chicken coconut soup. One of the bad-ass mom friends, Maria, brought it.

Who knew you could actually make this stuff?

And the Souperbowl connection? None. It’s just delicious, damn good tom kha gai soup.

Here’s the recipe, as adapted by Maria from Real Thai, by Nancie McDermott.

I didn’t make this myself, and honestly, since I know absolutely nothing about Thai cooking, I’m afraid to try. Wild lime leaves? That shouldn’t stop you, though.

Here’s what you need:

1 lb boned and skinned chicken meat, cut into bite-sized chunks
4 stalk fresh lemongrass
4.5 cups coconut milk
1.5 cups chicken stock
20 quarter-sized slices of fresh galangal (or fresh ginger)
assorted chopped vegetables: carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, green chili, baby corn and broccoli, in sensible amounts. Maybe a half cup each?
10 whole black peppercorns
12 fresh wild lime leaves
1 cup canned whole straw mushrooms (drained)
2 tbls fish sauce
2 tbls fresh lime juice

Cut away and discard the grassy tops of the lemongrass stalks, leaving them about 6-inches long. Cut away any hard root section to leave a clean smooth, flat base at the end below the bulb. Remove and discard touch outer leaves. using the blunt edge of a cleaver, bruise each stalk, whacking it firmly at 2-inch intervals and rolling it over to bruise the stalks on all sides. Cut each stalk crosswise into 4 pieces, set aside .

Combine coconut milk and chicken stock in a 3-quart sauce pan and add the seasonings. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes, then strain out the lemongrass, lime leaves, peppercorns and anything else you don’t want to eat. Add the chicken and veggies, simmer and cook until the chicken is done and the veggies are crisp tender.

When chicken is done, add mushrooms and remove from heat, stir in fish sauce and lime juice and 1/4 cup fresh cilantro. Taste and season with more fish sauce and lime juice if desired. Serve hot to marveling and grateful women.

Here’s a good blog showing you step by step how to make Tom Kha Gai. I stole the picture from her, too. Thanks, Rachel!

Try it and let me know how it goes!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Maria Weston February 8, 2012 at 8:23 am

After you left the party Julie, Kelli tagged the wild lime leaves as Kaffir leaves. Here’s a link to the plant description: http://www.thaitable.com/thai/ingredient/kaffir-lime-leaves I’ve heard that in the absence of kaffir leaves, you can use regular lime leaves.


Bonnie McCarthy February 8, 2012 at 6:46 pm

This sounds amazing, and looks beautiful! I would definitely order this…:)


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