Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Ka Gai)

Have you ever ordered a dish from a restaurant and thought, “This is good, but I would make some changes”? And that’s not to say the restaurant doesn’t know what it’s doing, but you would rather add (or remove) a few things.  

The other day I ordered takeout from the nearby Thai restaurant and I had their Tom Ka soup. I thoroughly enjoyed the broth. It packed so much flavor and just enough spiciness for me. But I wanted more.  Specifically, I wanted a lot more vegetables in my soup. So, I decided to try my hand at making Tom Ka Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup).

There was one ingredient (galangal) that I knew I would not find in the supermarket closest to my home.  So after work one day, I biked over to a nearby Asian supermarket to get some galangal and then I began my soup experiment.  It turns out that this soup is actually pretty easy to make once you have the right ingredients.

This recipe calls for fish sauce.  One thing I want to point out about fish sauce is that it has an extremely high sodium content level.  Read the nutrition label of your fish sauce.  I strongly recommend that you keep your sodium intake in mind when determining how much fish sauce you add.

There is something inexplicably comforting about enjoying a hot bowl of soup on a cool day.  So let’s get cooking. Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

Fun fact: Lemongrass is also called fever grass in the Caribbean.  It is consumed as a herbal tea and used as a fever reducer.

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time:  20 minutes . Yield: Serves 6

6 Cups Vegetable/chicken no salt added broth or water
1 1/2 Lbs Raw Boneless Chicken Breast, cubed
2 Cups Napa Cabbage, chopped
1/2 Cup Cilantro, chopped
1/4 Cup Lime Juice
8 Oz Shiitake Mushrooms, stems removed & sliced
3 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
1 to 4 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Ginger root, minced
1 Can Coconut Milk
1 Large Yellow Onion, sliced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
4 to 8 Thai Chillies*
3 Lemongrass Stalks
2 Carrots, sliced
1 to 2 inches of galangal**
1/2 Tbsp Olive or Coconut Oil
Zest from 1 lime
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp Sugar (optional)

*If you don’t have thai chillies, you can some spiciness by using jalapenos, Sriracha sauce or red pepper flakes.
**If you can’t find galangal, add little more ginger. These two roots have different flavors, but ginger is probably your best substitute.

1. Prepare ingredients: Slice galangal into 4 to 5 large pieces. Remove outer layer of lemongrass stalks; lightly pound stalks with handle of a large knife or another heavy object; slice stalks into 2-inch pieces. Remove stems from chilies and slice them. Set aside these ingredients for now.

2. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add minced ginger root and garlic to oil; saute, while stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Add red curry paste; mix about 30 seconds. Add broth/water, coconut milk, sliced galangal, lemongrass stalks and chillies. Stir and ensure that ingredients are well mixed.

3. Bring soup to a low simmer (do not boil) and then add chicken. Let simmer for a couple of minutes.

4. Stir in the onions, shiitake mushrooms and carrots. Bring soup to low simmer (do not boil) for about 5 to 10 minutes until chicken and vegetables are fully cooked; stir occasionally.

5. Stir in chopped napa cabbage, sugar, lime zest, lime juice and fish sauce. Add salt to taste.

6. Stir in chopped cilantro. Switch off heat. Serve warm.

Nutrition per Serving (about 3 Cups): 287 Cals; 17g Carb; 12g Fat; 24g Protein; 2g Dietary Fiber
Nutrition calculated using the MyFitnessPal Recipe Importer

About MyBodyMyKitchen

I'm Sean, founder of My Body My Kitchen (MBMK). I am dedicated to empowering my readers to live a healthy life. The food we eat and how it is prepared greatly affects our health. Through MBMK I empower my readers to take control of their health by providing them with the tools need to take control of your kitchens. I started MBMK in January 2015, after an overwhelming demand for my recipes on my personal Instagram account.

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