Tom Kha Gai is a traditional chicken and coconut spicy soup served to compliment your dinner in Thailand and Laos. “Kha” means galangal root, it looks like ginger with a mint taste, and “Gai” means chicken. Ingredients in this soup (“Tom”) can relieve head cold congestion, and digestive disorders. Mint leaves help eliminate toxins from the body, cleanse the blood, and combat bad breath. Ginger helps with morning or motion sickness, heartburn, and inflammation. Coconut milk contains lauric acid known to fight viruses, bacteria, and fungus in the body which lets the immune system to its job. This “Easy Tom Kha Gai” recipe offers some substitutes if you cannot acquire the fresh Thai ingredients. Most grocers or gourmet markets carry the necessary ingredients for Asian cooking, and local seasonal vegetables can be added to create your own version.
Ingredients: 1 cup water, 3 cups coconut milk, finely chopped ginger root, 1 lemon grass stalk (can use bottled or frozen version too), 4 kaffir lime leaves, (can substitute 1 tsp. of lime zest), 1 ½ cups chopped cooked chicken, 1 ½tablespoons of green chili pepper sliced (can also substitute dried chili flakes), 3 ½ tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, 2 scallions sliced, 1 tsp of brown sugar, 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves chopped (do not substitute dried mint). Method: use medium sauce pot, add water and coconut milk and heat on medium flame, after 3 minutes add ginger, lemon grass, kaffir lime and cook another 3 minutes. Add chicken, chili peppers, fish sauce, scallion, lime juice and brown sugar – cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining mint leaves as garnish. Tasting is important to add more spice, sugar or cream to balance the flavors. Serve with a side of steamed rice.
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