Tom Kha Gai soup is a Thai classic, and one of our all-time favorite soups! It is a soup with chicken cooked in a broth of coconut milk that has been infused with the flavors from lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves.
Despite how much we like it, I’ve never tried making it at home before. I think I had convinced myself that there was no way I would be able to even come close to getting an authentic flavor. But provided you have the right (authentic) ingredients, Tom Kha Gai is surprisingly easy and very tasty to make at home. I even had to make a couple substitutions (I couldn’t find galangal or kaffir lime leaves) and it still tasted amazingly good, but next time I’m going to make the effort to track down all of the authentic ingredients so that I can see just how much more amazing it can taste!
So don’t hesitate anymore about making your own Tom Kha Gai at home, it’s very easy and so good!
I got a little help from the following links on how to make this wonderful soup:
Tom Kha Gai Recipe – A Tutorial for Beginners by She Simmers
Thai Chicken Coconut Soup by Steamy Kitchen
Tom Kha Gai
3 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 ½ inch (approx.) piece of galangal, cut into thin slices (about ¼ inch)*
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn**
1 stem lemongrass, sliced lengthwise and cut into 3-4 pieces
1 or more chili peppers (of your choice, although bird’s eye is most commonly used), seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons fish sauce (or to taste)
2-3 tablespoons lime juice (or to taste)
5 medium button mushrooms, sliced (straw mushrooms are more authentic, but definitely not essential)
1 chicken breast (approx. ½ pound), thinly sliced (easier to slice while still partially frozen)
½ teaspoon palm sugar (optional)
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Place the chicken broth, coconut milk, galangal slices, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass and chili into a large pot. Bring to a gentle simmer, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
2. Add fish sauce and lime juice to taste (I found 2 tablespoons of each worked perfectly for us).
3. Add the mushrooms and chicken. Simmer for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
4. Taste and adjust fish sauce/lemon juice to taste, and add sugar if desired.
5. To serve, garnish each bowl with freshly chopped cilantro.
* My local supermarket doesn’t carry galangal, so I substituted with ginger, which is ok, but doesn’t provide quite the same authenticity of flavor. Next time I will source galangal from an Asian Grocery.
**I was not able to find kaffir lime leaves. The recommended substitution is the same number of thick strips of lime peel (each piece about 2×1 inches in size), but if you can get kaffir lime leaves I think it would be worth it.
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