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The Travelling Chef: TOM KHA GAI [Thai Chicken Soup] Los Angeles
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Published a month ago |
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Recorded in Los Angeles, Augustin with his friend Janna tries to make his first cooking show which came out very authentic.

Authentic Tom Kha Gai – a simple delicious recipe for the Thailand’s most popular soup! Full of fragrant Thai ingredients like lemongrass, kefir lime, ginger and galanga root, this Thai Coconut Chicken Soup can be made on the stove top on in an Instant Pot. Paleo, Gluten-free and Vegan-adaptable!

This authentic recipe for Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) is full of amazing flavor and can be made quickly and easily on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

What makes this Tom Kha Gai recipe truly authentic is the use of galangal root. So yes, it does require a trip to the Asian Market, but trust me when I tell you, you’ll love yourself for it. So will your family. And what is nice is, you can buy extra galangal root and kefir lime leaves and freeze them for future use, because I promise you’ll want to make this soup again. Soon!

The rich and fragrant coconut broth is especially comforting when feeling under the weather but remember not to boil the coconut milk as it will take some of its lovely sweetness away, so don’t over boil it or over cook it, just simmer gently and not for too long.

Galangal root (also called galanga) looks very much like ginger but tastes very very different. It has an exotic pine flavor, that in my opinion, totally makes the soup. In fact, the word “Kha” translates to galangal. Gai translates to “chicken, and Tom means “cooked”. Chicken cooked with galangal. So don’t make the soup, until you have time to go to the Asian Market.

While you are there, pick up some kefir lime leaves, ginger and lemongrass. Both the galangal and the kefir lime leaves may be in the frozen section of the market. You may also find chopped frozen lemongrass, which I happen to love because then there is always some on hand in the freezer.

1 –2 shallots, diced
¼ cup ginger, sliced into ⅛ inch thick disks, skins ok ( 2 inch piece)
¼ cup galangal root, sliced into ⅛ thick disks, skins ok ( 2 inch piece)
3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass- or use lemongrass paste.
8 kefir lime leaves
2 cups chicken broth or veggie broth
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken- whole breasts or thighs (or sub 1 pound crispy Tofu)
8 ounces sliced mushrooms (button, shiitake, cremini) or sub other veggies like bell pepper, snow peas, etc.
2–4 fresh Thai Chilies, or add chili paste to taste at the end
3 tablespoons fish sauce (or sub vegan fish sauce)
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 x 14-ounce cans of coconut milk (full fat)
1/4 cup lime juice ( 1–2 limes)
2 teaspoons palm, coconut or brown sugar
Serve this on its own, over rice or rice noodles!

Stove Top Cooking instructions:

Slice the chicken into thin bitesized pieces ( across the grain) and season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, saute shallot in a little oil over medium heat. Add ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and galalagal and 2 cups broth and simmer gently for 5 minutes, letting the broth infuse. Add the chicken (or tofu) and mushrooms and gently poach, simmering for 3-4 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, chilies, and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the lime juice and sugar. Taste. Adjust salt and lime and the spice level by adding more chili paste.
It may smell “fishy” at first, but after you add the lime juice, it will all balance and mellow out.

When making the stove top version, sometimes I’ll poach whole chicken breasts in the infused broth (covered) then shred with 2 forks- a little longer cooking time, but no pre-cutting required. Then add the remaining ingredients.
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