Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

There was a little Thai place in a city where I used to live that was pretty much the definition of a dive. It was just a few tables thrown into a small room, and the owner's little children just kind of wandered around the restaurant (and I'm pretty sure they stole my friend's chapstick once). However, I kept going back, and the soup was pretty much the reason why.

The first soup on the menu was listed as "sweet and intoxicating" (I think technically it was called tom kha gai, but I always just called it "sweet and intoxicating soup" and that was good enough for me.) It was a blend of coconut, vegetables, chicken, and other stuff that I'm not exactly sure of, but it was good. I know that there may be some out there who be offended at the decidedly American-looking list of ingredients: shouldn't it contain galangal and kaffir lime leaves and those little red chilies that will burn your eyebrows off and nam prik phao and lots of other stuff I can't pronounce? Well, it probably should, and if you're a Thai soup purist, I'm sorry. I don't believe in authenticity nearly as much as I believe in awesomeness. And this, my friends, is awesome.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced very thin
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoons lemongrass puree
  • Zest of 1 lime (finely zested)
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1 pound chicken breast
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice
  • scant 1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon basil leaves
  • Juice of 2-3 limes
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • about 1/2 cup enoki mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste
Place the chicken broth in a large soup pot with the ginger, jalapeno, and lemongrass. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes to flavor the broth, occasionally stirring vigorously with a whisk. Strain the broth through a fine sieve, discard what's left in the strainer, and place the broth back in the pan.

Add the coconut milk, chicken, onion, pineapple, sugar, and herbs. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the chicken is cooked (about 10 more minutes, or so). Shred the chicken, then add back to the pot.

Add the lime juice, pepper, tomato, and mushrooms. Stir until warmed throughout. Season with salt as needed.

1 comment:

ALDyer said...

Awesomeness wins out every time! It doesn't taste like traditional Thom Kai Ghai - this is the souped up version. (insert groan at corny pun here)