I’m a big fan of Thai food. Huge. I would marry Thai food and have its babies, if George Bush would allow it. But you know, it’s a slippery slope, eh?
Moving on, I recently came across a new Thai specialty here in Amsterdam, Tom Ka Gai or coconut milk soup. I had it at Rakang, a fabulous Thai place on the Elandsgracht, and it was pure bliss. At first sight, I was a bit apprehensive due to its pure white color, but believe me, it’s totally worth it, and quite surprising. Here is my version folks!
Tom Ka Gai – Coconut Milk Soup Recipe
4 13.5 oz cans coconut milk, shake ’em good!
2 stalks lemongrass
1″ fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
1 1/2 c. enoki mushrooms*
3 kaffir lime leaves*
4 hot chili peppers, serranos, Thai chilies, or dried chilies work as well
1 lime, juiced
2 tbsp. fish sauce
cilantro, chopped for garnish
Shake the coconut cans to combine the cream, which floats to the top, and the milk. Pour coconut milk into large sauce pan or deep skillet. Reserve the cream, or thick coconut solids, in a bowl.* Heat on medium until simmering.
Remove dry outer leaves from lemongrass. Chop each stalk into 3 or 4″ pieces and slice in half lengthwise to release more flavor. Add to soup along with grated ginger and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add chicken and enoki mushrooms. Raise heat to medium-high and cook for 4 minutes. The cream will bubble and rise up, so stir frequently to prevent a bubbling volcano of coconut soup.
Remove vein from lime leaves and chop finely. Smash or half chilies. Add leaves and chilies to soup. Simmer for 2 more minutes.
Add lime juice and fish sauce. Eat!
This soup gets better with time, and hotter…
Notes for your perusal
1. Enoki mushrooms are typically sold in clumps in a package. Trim the bottom of the clump of mushrooms. No need to chop them further as they are very tender mushrooms.
2. Kaffir lime leaves can be found in Asian food stores, or in gourmet markets. They are stored in the freezer. You can use them over and over in Thai and also Cambodian cuisine.
3. Use reserved coconut cream for another treat! Perfect for pina coladas. Combine 3 oz. light rum, 3 tbsp. coconut cream, 3 tbsp fresh pineapple and 2 c. ice into a blender. Blend! This is one serving, so multiply as needed and have a good time.