I have a friend visiting me right now and she loves Thai food. As she has been very jetlagged, I decided to make her some Thai Coconut Chicken Soup - Tom Kha Gai - to make the transition easier. It's really easy to make and easy to digest and has those lovely Thai flavors. It is easily made from ingredients on hand except for the Lemongrass, which I bought earlier from my local Asian market, Uwajimaya and keeps in the refrigerator for a while.
Thai Coconut Soup is a lovely creamy, citrusy bowl of comfort. I used cut up chicken breast for a little extra protein and also added already cooked rice for more texture and substance. It comes together incredibly fast and I think it is even better the second day - if you have any leftovers!
Thai Style Coconut Chicken Soup
1 14 oz can Coconut Milk
2 cups chicken broth
5 slices of ginger (or galangal if you can get it)
2 small or 1 large Lemongrass stalk, outside layer removed, top 2/3 cut off and minced finely (if tough - put in mortar and crush to a paste like consistency)
1 Tablespoon grated lime zest
1 chicken breast, cut into small chunks
4 Tablespoons of Thai Fish Sauce
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste
1/2 - 1 teaspoon Thai Chili Oil (can also use Sriracha or Chili Garlic Paste)
1 Serrano Chili, deseeded and finely minced or cut into rings (if you want to remove them)
1 handful (about 1/2 cup) Cilantro Leaves
Cooked and hot white rice - about 1/2 cup per bowl
In a large pot, combine the Coconut Milk with the Chicken Broth, ginger, Lemongrass and lime zest and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and add in the chicken pieces, the fish sauce, the Serrano Chili and the sugar. Cook for 5 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked and are white. Put in curry paste and chili oil and cook for another 5 minutes. Add in lime juice and ladle into a bowl that has 1/2 cup of cooked hot rice in it. Sprinkle with cilantro leaves.
Five Element Analysis
Soup is a Watery method of cooking and the added Fish Sauce contributes even more. Coconut Milk is an Earth Food so that element is covered whereas the Metal Element is benefitted by the ginger and serving the soup with rice and cilantro. The chicken, the chicken broth, the Lemongrass and the lime all contribute the Wood Element and the Serrano Chili, the Red Curry Paste and Chili Oil bring in Fire. Guess what? This is a balanced soup!