Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Thom Kha Gai Thai Soup

So lately I have been wanting to try my hand at Thai cuisine. My first foray into the balance and intensity of flavours I attempted a green curry that turned out pretty mediocre in my opinion. It didn't suck but it wasn't great either.

From what I'd heard, my favorite soup of ALL TIME was supposed to be fairly easy to prepare...providing you knew what it needed to taste like and what flavours are needed to really make this simple dish really explode your taste buds in a good way.

So naturally, I assembled the ingredients I needed and tested out my first run on some gracious and unsuspecting friends.

The result was a very authentic and AMAZING Thai soup that was bursting with the balance of flavours I have come to crave! (plus my guests went back for seconds so I say I did pretty darn good.)

So because this recipe turned out so amazingly-I thought I'd share! (I went off of several basic Thai soup ideas and built and tweaked from there!)

* you can easily cut this recipe in half (though I don't know why you would as it reheats very well...and you'll want to live off of it for a couple of days ;p)
**find a decent Asian store for some of these ingredients. They also freeze well! Please note that you can't achieve the right flavour without the necessary ingredients-but rest assured they are inexpensive ingredients and you'll be making it A LOT.
***the KEY to achieving the perfect flavour for this soup is the fine balance of sweet, salt, spice, and sour.

(Thai coconut chicken soup)

-2 cartons of chicken broth (like the Pacific Foods brand) or about 3 mason jars of homemade bone broth.
-2 cans of coconut milk
-about a 1/3 c. Fresh lime juice or lime juice from concentrate
-1 Tbsp. of chili paste, or less if you like your soup more mild. (I like red chili sauce from Trader Joe's-it's like Siracha sauce)
-2 stalks of lemongrass or galangal root, cut into 2 inch pieces and separated. Discard the darker green part.
-about 6 peeled and sliced pieces of fresh ginger (gently scrape the edge of a spoon against the brown skin to easily remove it. Super easy!)
-about 12-14 kaffir lime leaves, roughly torn.
-fresh cilantro (about a 1/4 c.)
-sea salt (around 1 tbsp.?) (or if you have some REALLY good fish sauce use this instead and start out with a tsp. and work your way up If necessary. I had crappy fish sauce so I used sea salt instead and the flavour was just as authentic!)
-organic sugar or honey (around 2 Tbsp.?)
-2 cartons of organic crimini or white mushrooms, halved.
-2 lbs. of chicken, cut into 1 inch chunks.

-Combine broth, coconut milk, ginger, lime leaves and lemongrass/galangal in a stock pot and bring to a boil.

-add lime juice, chicken, mushrooms, chili sauce, sugar and salt. Turn down temp to simmer. Simmer until chicken is opaque and tender. do a taste test of the broth after a few minutes-balance the flavours if needed by adjusting sugar, salt, and lime juice.

-discard the ginger, lemongrass and lime leaf and serve garnished with cilantro. (and fresh Thai basil if you so desire!)

Serves 6-8 (unless you're little piggies and then serves about 4;)
Takes about 45 minutes from start to finish (this includes prep time and cook time!)

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