Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Recipe Share: Tom Kha (Thai Chicken) Soup

When it's cold outside I want nothing more to eat than a great bowl of soup! And one of my favorites is Tom Kha Gai, Thai Soup. (Give me a bowl of that and a basket of Sticky Rice and I'm in heaven!) I had a really great Thai restaurant right here in Payson, (I ordered their soup take out so many times they knew my voice and order over the phone!) But, to my dismay they shut the place down! Boo..no more Tom Kha within 10 minutes! I still love to go to Thai Village in Provo as often as I get up that way, but I needed a "Thai soup" (as my kids call it) a little closer! So I decided to come up with my own recipe. I love to eat out and then try to recreate those restaurant dishes at home. Yes...there probably are already recipes for this soup online. But what's the fun in that?! I wanted to try it on my own. So I tried to remember the spices and herbs that I saw on the menu and took my first trip to the Asian Market. There is a great market in Provo just off Center St. and 500 West. I had the store clerk help me find everything (since I was a first timer!) I walked out of there with all the ingredients and the ambition to make it happen (oh and a boobing 2 year old!) I worked on the recipe this afternoon and after his nap, the boobing 2 year old is now happily lapping it up like there's no tomorrow! (Good sign!) I really can't believe my kids actually like this soup, but they all have since day one, even my picky eaters. (I thought it was maybe a little too flavorful or complex, but they dig it!)

So here are the ingredients to my soup. (Please keep in mind I'm a White girl from Utah, who has never lived in, or visited Thailand, but I like to try to make my own versions of dishes I like.)
3 Chicken Breasts, sliced finely into pieces about 1/4-1/2" thick and about 2" long.
3 14.5 oz cans Swanson Chicken Broth
2 19 oz cans Coconut Milk, not the light
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Fresh Red Pepper, chopped
1/2 Cup Onion, chopped, I used Sweet Onion
8 oz Mushrooms, whatever kind you like, sliced
1 small Zucchini Squash, halved and sliced about 1/4-1/2" thick
1 Clove Garlic, minced fine
1 Clove Shallot, minced fine
1/2 Tsp Fish Oil
2 Tsp Thai Chili Paste/Sauce I used the garlic flavored one (Asian Store) makes it a little spicy so adjust to your taste
1 Thai Basil leaf (Asian Store), I don't like to eat, just for flavor.
Galangal, (a root resembling Ginger.) I used one whole piece of the root looking thingy, minus the crusty ends, cut into 6 pieces about 1/4-1/2" thick (Asian Store in the freezer, there's also dried, but I think you will get more flavor out of the frozen kind) Don't eat, for flavor only
5 Kaffir Lime Leaves, (Asian Store) they were in the freezer, also don't eat, just for flavor
1 Stalk Lemongrass,  I trimmed off the dirty, ugly outer leaves, then washed and dried, (Asian Store) Don't eat this, just for flavor. Chopped the stalk into about 8 pieces, about 2 inches long each, and I cut a slit in them the long way to allow more flavor to escape. (Asian Store) Don't eat this, just for flavor.

Garnish with chopped red onion or green onion, cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice. Give her
a shot of Tabasco and it's the bee's knees! ( I put the shot of Tabasco in my bowl as to not burn my children's tender tongues!) 

Chop up all the vegetables and set aside, put all chicken broth and coconut milk in a soup pan over med/high heat with the Lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, Galangal, and Thai basil leaf. Then in a saute pan add the olive oil and red pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, shallots, sweet onion, and saute over med heat just until slightly tender, about 5 min. Then add them to the soup pan with the liquid, bring the liquid to a boil and simmer. Chop chicken very thinly and drop into the simmering soup, stir occasionally and simmer for about 5-10 min until chicken is fully cooked. (This will depend on how thick you slice it) I sliced mine about 1/4-1/2" thick and it was done in about 7 min. Then add chili paste/sauce, fish oil, serve with garnish of roughly chopped Cilantro, red or green onion and fresh lime juice. Get ready for a taste bud sensation! And don't forget to smell the aroma of your soup as it simmers, the aroma of the lemon grass and kaffir lime is amazing. And then a shot of Tabasco if you like it a little spicier! And remember not to eat the Lemongrass, Kaffir or Galangal. (it's just to add flavor) We like this soup with Sticky Rice (also can get at the Asian Store) Hope you enjoy! (Everyone in my house seems to be happy with it so far!) And I've eaten a bowl or two myself!! 
Veggies chopped and ready for some Saute!

After a short 4-5 min Saute.
This is what the Galangal looks like (in case you are a first timer like me!)
Galangal all chopped.
The Kaffir Lime Leaves. Sorry a little blurry!
The Thai Basil Leaf.
Everything's in but the Chicken, now to get it to a boil and then add chicken and simmer.
Now Garnish and enjoy! 

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