I love this traditional Thai soup, known as tome kha gai and enjoyed throughout the country, in homes and as part of banquets and restaurant meals. I wrote this recipe for FINE COOKING magazine a few years back, and I love the beautiful and useful photographs by Scott Phillips which illustrate the story. What a treat to find it featured on FINE COOKING‘s website this week, their Soup of the Day during a cold wintry week when this soup’s unique bracing flavor was just the ticket to chase away the winter blues. To check out FINE COOKING‘s post of this recipe and photos, click HERE!
If you can’t find fresh galanga, look for dried pieces of galanga or frozen chunks of it, in Asian markets. Fresh lemongrass is more widely available, in supermarkets and at farmers markets, as well as in Asian markets. Wild lime leaves, also known as kaffir lime leaves, may be available in Asian markets, fresh and frozen, as well as in some supermarkets and at farmer’s markets. If you don’t find all the herbs, use what you have — even if you use fresh ginger slices instead of its cousin, galangal, and omit the lemongrass and lime leaves, you will still have a tasty and bracing soup.
- • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
- • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
- • 2 Tbs. fish sauce (nam pla)
- • 2 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and very thinly sliced crosswise
- • 6 fresh or frozen wild lime leaves (also known as kaffir lime leaves), torn or cut into quarters
- • 10 to 12 thin slices galangal, fresh, frozen, or dried (or 10 to 12 thin slices fresh unpeeled ginger)
- • 8 to 10 fresh hot red and green Thai chiles, stemmed and lightly pressed with the side of a knife (or 3 or 4 serranos, thinly sliced) for garnish (optional)
- • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- • 1 boneless chicken breast half (about 6 ounces), cut into bite-size chunks or sliced across the grain into strips
- • 1/4 lb. white mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, and thinly sliced to yield 1 cup
- • 14-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (shake the can before opening it)
- • 14-oz. can low-salt chicken broth or 1-3/4 cups water
- In a large serving bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, scallions, and half of the wild lime leaves.
- Set the bowl by the stove, along with small dishes containing the galangal, lemongrass, and remaining lime leaves; the chiles (if using), the chopped cilantro; and the sliced chicken and mushrooms.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk and broth.
- Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.
- Stir in the galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves.
- Add the chicken and mushrooms.
- Return to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors and cook the chicken.
- Remove the pan from the heat, pour the hot soup over the seasonings in the serving bowl, and stir well.
- Sprinkle with the fresh Thai or serrano chiles, if using, and the chopped cilantro, and serve hot.