Tom Kha or Thai coconut soup is a delicious soup that has a slightly sweet and smoky flavor. The main ingredients of Tom Kha are galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk.
Tom Kha Gai which literally means boiled galangal chicken is cooked often in most Thai homes. In fact, Tom Kha’s silky texture and earthy flavor has become such a hit among foreigners, that almost every Thai restaurant will feature a Thai coconut soup in their menu.
Variations of Tom Kha
There are several variants to this rich and aromatic soup. While the traditional Tom Kha Gai is prepared with chicken, there is the equally popular Tom Kha Goong which is made with prawns. If you are a vegetarian, you can even make this soup using a variety of vegetables and tofu. You can also replace the traditional meat which is used in the preparation of this soup with mushrooms and this variant of the Thai coconut soup is called Tom Kha Hed.
Chief Ingredients to Make Tom Kha
The chief or key ingredient used in the preparation of the Thai Coconut soup is galangal. Galangal or siamese ginger is very similar to ginger. But galangal adds a punch to this soup, which ginger cannot.
Another chief ingredient which is used in making Tom Kha is lemon grass. The aromatic lemon grass, which is so vital for traditional Thai cooking, has a slightly pungent taste.
The other vital ingredient in this soup is fresh coconut milk. Freshly squeezed coconut milk gives this soup a silky texture. If you are unable to make fresh coconut milk you can even used tinned coconut milk. For a creamier version of Tom Kha, you can even use coconut cream. For a lighter version of Tom Kha, you can substitute the coconut milk for some chicken broth.
Oyster Mushrooms Coarsely Chopped – 1 cup
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice – 3tbsp
Tinned Coconut Milk – 2 cans
Galangal Root Sliced thinly – 6 pieces
Thinly Sliced Green Onions- 3 large
Cilantro Leaves Coarsely Chopped – ½ of a small bunch
Chicken Drumsticks- 2
Serrano Chilies, Stemmed and Seeded -5
Chicken Breast Cut Into 1 Inch Thick Strips – 1 large
Lemon Grass- 2 stalks
Thai Fish Sauce – 2 tbsp
1. Boil the chicken legs with a stalk of lemon grass in two cups of water. Cook the chicken till it becomes tender.
2. Once the chicken is done, remove it from the broth. Shred the chicken and keep the broth aside.
3. Pour the chicken broth through a fine sieve to remove any impurities.
4. To the strained chicken broth add sliced galangal, Serrano chilies, coconut milk and the remaining lemon grass. Transfer the broth to a saucepan. Cook the broth for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
5. Now add the shredded chicken breast and cook for another five minutes. Add the chopped green onions and sliced oyster mushrooms and continue cooking for another 4 to 5 minutes.
6. Once the soup is done remove the saucepan from the fire. Finally, add lemon juice, fish sauce, pepper and salt. Serve hot with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro leaves.