I asked our chef for a suggestion for a recipe that would bolster us and her immediate response was Thai chicken soup. I found this simple recipe on about.com it has that distinctive Thai flavor – a balance of spicy, salty, sweet and sour. Tom Ka Kai can either be served as an appetizer or as the star player (noodles can be added if you’re planning to make this soup as a main entree). For hot sauce of course I recommend our own farm made hot and smokey sauce and you can toss in any veggies of your choosing.
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes
- 6 cups good-quality chicken stock (Serves 2 as the main entree, or 4-6 as an appetizer)
- 1-2 chicken breasts, sliced, OR 1-2 cups roasted chicken or turkey
- 1 lemongrass stalk, OR 3 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
- 4 kaffir limes leaves (fresh or frozen)
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated
- 1-3 fresh red chilies, minced (to taste), OR substitute 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili
- 1/2 to 1 can good-quality coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2+ Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. brown sugar (optional, according to taste)
- handful fresh coriander leaves aka cilantro
- handful fresh basil leaves
- 3 spring (green) onions, sliced
- optional: other vegetables, like sliced bell pepper or cherry tomatoes
- optional: *wheat or rice noodles, if serving as the main course (see tip below)
- Slice and mince the lower portion of the lemongrass stalk. Retain the upper stalk for the soup pot.
- Place chicken broth in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. If you have leftover chicken or turkey bones, add those too. Bring to a boil.
- Add fresh chicken (or leftover chicken or turkey) and mushrooms. Also add the prepared lemongrass (including upper stalk pieces), plus kaffir lime leaves and fresh chili. Boil 5-8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.
- Turn heat down to medium. Add the galangal or ginger, 1/2 can coconut milk, the fish sauce, and extra vegetables (if using). Stir well. Simmer gently 1-2 minutes.
- Turn heat down to minimum. Add lime juice and stir.
- Do a taste test. Look for a balance between spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. Start with salty, adding more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough (1 Tbsp. at a time). If too sour, add the sugar plus a little more if you need it. If too spicy, or if you’d like it creamier, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add more chili.
- Ladle soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle a little fresh coriander, basil, and spring onion over each bowl. For an extra kick of flavor, add a dollop of either store-bought or our own farm made smoky hot sauce available at the farm store.