Here is the recipe for “Tom Kah Gai”! I present you the recipe as I learned to make it in Bangkok. It is a Thai soup made with coconut milk, galanga, lemongrass, red chili, lime, kaffir leaves and chicken. It is a real explosion of multiple flavors. It may be a little difficult for some to find all the ingredients, but I know from experience, that in most “exotic” stores, it is not impossible to find the basics of this wonderful soup! And given the results, which are far superior and much less expensive than in Thai restaurants, I advise everyone to try this recipe for a real magic potion!
Ingredients for the “Tom Kah Gai” for 4 people:
-1 liter of coconut milk (I use the Aroy-D brand carton)
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-25g of brown sugar
-25g of Nuoc Nam
-80g of fresh galangal
-4 stems of lemongrass
-juice of 1+1/2 lime
-8 lemon leaves (or kaffir leaves depending on the name)
2-3 small fresh red peppers
-a small bunch of coriander
-3 chicken thighs (much softer than white meat, which should not be used in this recipe!)
-12 fresh straw mushrooms or chanterelles
Start by pouring the coconut milk into a large saucepan.
This is what galangal looks like. It looks a bit like ginger.
Cut it into slices with a good knife because galangal is quite strong!
Try to cut slices of 2 or 3 mm.
Throw the 80g of galangal into the coconut milk.
Bone the chicken thighs and remove the skin. Then cut into 4 smaller pieces. Put these pieces in the pan. Add half a spoonful of salt. Put the pan on low heat.
Meanwhile, prepare the remaining ingredients. Cut the straw mushrooms in half. These mushrooms are quite hard to find fresh, but they are available in cans and if you wash them well, they go very well in this soup. For those allergic to canned products, I suggest using fresh mushrooms such as cloves. But it is the only mushroom that can be used. It is better to put nothing at all than button mushrooms or oyster mushrooms (which I love!!).
Cut off the ends of the lemongrass stems. Wash them…
And crush them with a hammer to release their fragrance! It is necessary to crush gently and not to explode the stem to throw it against the walls.
Wash the peppers and lemon leaves. Then you have to tear the leaves to release a maximum of aroma!
The rest of the recipe is simple.
1- when the chicken is almost cooked, add the mushrooms, lemongrass, lemon leaves and lightly crushed chillies.
2- When the soup starts to boil, remove from heat, add the 25g of sugar, nuoc nam and lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.
3- Return to boil for 5 minutes and serve with coriander leaves.
You can also prepare the soup during the day to serve it in the evening and let it infuse in the afternoon. The flavors will be even more intense!
I forgot to mention that some of the ingredients are not consumable! The galangal, lemon leaves, lemongrass stalks, and chili pepper are only there to infuse in this wonderful soup!