17 February 2011

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

What's better for a cold, winter night than soup? I've been getting a little tired of the old standby soups and have had a couple of cans of coconut milk sitting in the cupboard for a while, so I went in search of a coconut milk-based soup. I found one on Cooksillustrated.com, but it felt like too much work (sorry Test Kitchen, but you didn't feel worth it this time). After a little searching on Epicurious, I found something easy and that didn't require a lot of extra ingredients. The serrano chiles also helped clear out any remaining ickiness from my cold.

Makes great leftovers! If you use noodles, be careful that they don't absorb too much liquid
(like rice noodles) or you'll end up with mush if you try to use as leftovers.
 The only unfortunate part about this recipe is that it seems to have left out an ingredient....like say 75% of the liquid... My gut reaction was of disbelief that the only liquid was the coconut milk (14 oz.) and the fish sauce (5 T). That seems pretty thick and not enough to cover the chicken. Turned out I wasn't the only one with that feeling--there were plenty of reviews recommending the addition of chicken broth. I didn't have any chicken broth on hand, but did have some "chicken" broth powder that I mixed up with a quart of water. Definitely made a difference. I also reduced the fish sauce, on other people's recommendations, to 3 T--didn't want it to overwhelm the coconut flavor. It's also very important that you do a good job crushing the lemongrass and make sure to make big enough slices of ginger that you can fish them out before serving. Shawn wasn't terribly happy to chew on a big chunk of ginger.

Coconut Chicken Soup
Epicurious (with revisions)
  • 1 quart low sodium chicken broth
  • One 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 6 thin slices fresh galangal or 4 slices fresh ginger
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer portion removed tender portion only, chopped and crushed in mortar
  • 5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn inhalf, or 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 3/4 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 25 fresh green bird's-eye chiles or 15 fresh green Thai chiles or 8 green serrano chiles, crushed in a mortar with the pestle
1. In a large pot, combine 1 cup of the coconut milk with the galangal, lemongrass, and lime zest and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, fish sauce, and sugar, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the chicken is white and firm, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining coconut milk and heat to just below boiling, about 3 minutes. Stir in red curry paste and noodles, if using.

2. Divide the lime juice and a touch more curry paste into individual serving bowls and ladle the soup over them. Garnish each bowl with the cilantro and crushed chile peppers. Serve immediately.

This soup is open to interpretation given that it's not really a tom kha gai recipe. I added cellophane noodles since we had half a package in the cupboard; other reviews recommended adding shiitake mushrooms. Overall, it was a very satisfying meal and got me out of my soup funk.

1 comment:

  1. I am absolutely going to make this. I have been craving everything coconut & have some random cellophane noodles I need to use too. I'll have to make it kara friendly however. Looks delightful!