Gai tom kha (thai chicken in coconut milk soup)

Yield: 6 servings

Measure Ingredient
Stephen Ceideburg
4 cups Medium coconut milk
1½ cup Chicken stock
3 Quarter-sized pieces dried galangal (kha), or 6 quarter-sized
Pieces fresh galangal
4 Stalks fresh lemon grass, bruised, cut into 2-inch lengths

4 stalks fresh lemon grass, bruised, cut into 2-inch lengths 6 fresh Serrano chiles, sliced into rounds 1 large whole chicken breast, cut into ½-inch pieces (with or without bones, see note) 4 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla) 5 fresh Kaffir lime leaves (makrut), if available 2 fresh limes, juice 2 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves 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.

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.

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