Gai tom kha (thai chicken and coconut milk soup)

Yield: 6 servings

Measure Ingredient
4 cups Medium coconut milk
1½ cup Chicken stock
3 quarts Pieces dried galangal (kha), or
6 quarts Pieces fresh galangal
4 Stalks fresh lemon grass, bruised, cut into 2-inch lengths
6 Fresh Serrano chiles, sliced into rounds
1 large Whole chicken breast *
4 tablespoons Fish sauce (nam pla)
5 Fresh Kaffir lime leaves (makrut), if available
2 Fresh limes, juice
2 tablespoons Chopped coriander leaves

* cut into ½-inch pieces (with or without bones, see note) Combine coconut milk, chicken stock, galangal, lemon grass and 4 of the chiles in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain stock; discard galangal and lemon grass.

Return stock to a boil, add chicken and simmer until tender, about 2 minutes. Add fish sauce, citrus leaves and remaining chiles. Stir in the lime juice. Garnish with coriander.

Serves 6 to 8.

NOTE: I like to use boned chicken breast if I'm cooking for guests.

For the best flavor, however, use a whole small chicken chopped into small pieces with the bones; increase the cooking time until chicken is tender.

Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; December 13 1991.

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