On March 9th Kate and I got a huge basket from bountiful baskets and it included a new thai pack they were trying out. I just didn’t have time most of the week to use the pack so finally on Saturday I decided to do some shopping and cook up a bunch of food to have for the upcoming week. I made the thai soup tom kha gai and a big pot of curry.
Curry is a favorite of the Wagner household because it is easy, can be made with practically anything and aside from the spices relatively cheap. It is also an easy dish to make vegetarian which it seems like we often have a vegetarian in our midst. Oh and it is also gluten free and dairy free. Makes everyone happy.
Tom Kha Gai is a chicken and coconut soup that uses a lot of lemongrass and ginger to give a rich, complex flavor. My roommate gave it the stamp of approval. There is something wonderful about drinking a hot, vibrant bowl of broth. So good!
The recipe for the soup I got from Tyler Florence of the Food Network with a few changes and the curry I made up myself (I’ve made it tons of times but I will try and give you an idea. It made a lot of food that will freeze very well but really finding the ingredients is the most difficult part of these items. Cooking them at the same time reduces the amount of time spent washing and preparing because I could cut one onion for both, use 1 knife for both, one cutting board, etc. I guess I’ve always been a mad bursts of energy kind of person.
1 stalk lemon grass, white part only, cracked open with the flat side of a knife
3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried, hand torn (Couldn’t find, put some extra lime juice for the flavor)
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced (I left my fresh ginger in the cart at the store had to use ground spice but it still tasted good)
2 small Thai chilies, halved lengthwise
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (13-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 (8-ounce) can straw mushrooms, rinsed
4 limes, juiced
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leavesDirections(Cook onion, celery in tbsp veg oil). Bring the stock to the boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, chilies, and garlic. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and gently simmer for 10 minutes to let the spices infuse the broth.
Uncover and stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, mushrooms, lime juice, and chicken. Simmer for 5 minutes to heat the chicken through; season with salt and pepper. (I let mine cook for quite a bit longer to get a strong flavor and added more fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar than the recipe called for) Ladle the soup into a soup tureen or individual serving bowls. Garnish with cilantro. Be careful to avoid chewing the lemongrass, ginger, or lime leaves.