Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tom Kha Goong / Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp

I remembered very well the first day I came to the States, Tom Kha Gai soup was my first dish I made for my new family and friends.  I made Tom Kha Gai (chicken) in a big pot and it’s sold out quick!  

Tom Kha is normally made with Gai or chicken meat and sometime with shrimp but pork or beef is rarely used. In Thailand we usually use chicken that skins and bones are still attached. The skin-on and bone-in chicken gives the dish tremendous flavor than just chicken breast that sometime the meat becomes too dry after cooking. Why call it Tom Kha, you might ask. Because we use a lot of Galangal or Kha in the soup as it is the main ingredient. If you don’t use Galangal for this kind of soup, you might have to call it something else, seriously! Fresh Galangal is available mostly at Asian supermarkets, but I found that buying a glass jar of Galangal in brine water seems very convenience and it tastes great… like fresh…and…a lot cheaper! As for lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf, please use fresh only because the fresh herbs when infused with boiling water is much better taste than dried herbs, trust me.

Interestingly, this soup can only be seasoned with the salty fish sauce and the sour form lime juice, lots of lime juice!    But you can use salt if you think fish sauce is too fishy… but never ever think of using soy sauce because it will not turn out the way it is supposed to be.   Since the coconut milk already contains a natural sweet in itself, sugar is not necessary.    The finished broth from this soup is so uniquely light and flavorful with the infusion of those herbs and a little kick of spice from fresh chili added in the broth will make you want to make this soup more often, I swear!

Now, let’s learn some Thais.  Tom = bring water to boil, Kha = Galangal, Gai = chicken, and this time I used Goong = shrimp.   And this one I made called Tom Kha Goong!   Isn’t that fun?  

 What you need:

3 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 can(13.5 oz.) Coconut milk
1 lb fresh shrimps, cleaned and deveined  ( or chicken)
2 cup Oyster mushroom or any mushroom you like
1/4 cup young galangal finely sliced 
5 leaves Kaffir lime leaf, torn or roughly chopped
2 stalks Lemongrass cut diagonally about 1-in size
5-6 Thai red chilies, slightly smashed /slit open/sliced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3-4 tbsp fish sauce (or salt)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
*carrot is optional. I just used them for color!

How to:

- in a medium pot, add vegetable or chicken broth over medium heat, when it slightly boiling, add coconut milk
- add kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal and chilies into the pot to infuse the aroma of the herbs
- add mushroom and shrimp, let it cook for 7-10 minutes or until the shrimp is just poached, try not to overcooked
- turn off the heat, season to taste with fish sauce and lime juice, and chopped cilantro
- serve hot by itself as a first course, or with steamed Jasmine rice as the main entree, or add angel hair pasta noodle or rice noodle for noodle soup, which I have tried and it was very good.



1 comment:

  1. Great additional information you add! Thanks, Mike


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