Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

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This classic Thai soup is one of our favorites to order at any Thai restaurant.  It is filled with quinessential thai ingredients (that are easy to find at our local grocery store):  coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, basil and cilantro.  We love the aroma this soup has and the way it makes your home smell like an exotic wonderland.  This complete meal in a bowl is easy to make and will quickly become a family favorite that everyone can enjoy!

*Important side note:  This is called “Coconut” chicken soup for a reason, which is why the coconut milk you purchase is very important. For the most silky, rich soup, we recommend using Chaokoh Coconut Milk.  If you see this brand, stock up like we do (I found mine at my local Tom Thumb).  Our second choice is Thai Kitchen Whole Coconut Milk.  Other brands I have found make this soup taste watery, leaving me very unhappy!

Ingredients (Makes 8 Servings):

  • 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (3-4 breasts)
  • 4 whole green onions, sliced at an angle into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups of stemmed and sliced shittake mushrooms
  • 2 Thai chiles (or serrano peppers) very thinly sliced (use only 1 for less spice)
  • 2 Fresno Chiles, thinly sliced (or use 1/2 red bell pepper, diced)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, tough outer layers removed and cut into thirds
  • 1 inch peice of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tbsp. of Grapeseed or Olive Oil
  • 2 32oz. cartons of Low Sodium, Organic Chicken Broth (about 8 cups)
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 3 13.5-oz cans of Chaokoh Coconut Milk  (*see my important side note above)
  • For Serving:  
    • Fresh chopped cilantro
    • Fresh chopped thai basil (or regular basil)
    • lime wedges
    • Chili Oil

Method:

1.  Rinse and pat dry chicken breasts.  Slice chicken into very thin strips.

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2.  Chop up all your veggies.

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3.  Heat 2 tbsp. of grapeseed or olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add in the garlic, the ginger, the green onion, and the fresno peppers.  Saute and stir until tender, about 3 minutes, being very careful not to burn the garlic and ginger.

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4.  Add in broth, lemongrass stalks, the thai peppers, the sliced chicken, the fish sauce, and the lime juice.  Turn heat down to medium or medium-low heat (if it starts to simmer rapidly, turn it down to low.)  You want it to cook with a very slight simmer for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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5.  When about 10 minutes from serving, ladle out the lemongrass stalks and discard.  Stir in in the coconut milk and shittake mushrooms, cook on low for 10-15 more minutes.

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6.  Ladle soup into a bowl, top with freshly chopped cilantro and basil.  Drizzle with a little chili oil, and serve with a wedge of lime.

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