Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai) for Souper Sundays

I really love all of the flavors in Thai food, the lime juice, coconut milk, ginger, cilantro, and other fresh spices. When I want a light feeling, but still satisfying meal, I like Tom Kha Gai soup, the gingery, coconut milk based "cousin" of Tom Yum soup. I was flipping through the December issue of Sunset Magazine and found this recipe in the "Fast & Fresh" section which looked quick (under 30 minutes) and easy. It seemed like the perfect "Souper Sunday" pick when busy hosting a house guest.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Jiranooch Shapiro, Anchorage, Sunset Magazine

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk, 1 can (14 oz) reduced-sodium chicken broth, and 6 quarter-size slices fresh ginger. Cut 1 stalk fresh lemongrass into 1-in. pieces and add to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 lb. boned, skinned chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1-in. pieces; 1 cup sliced mushrooms; 1 Tbsp each fresh lime juice and Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce; and 1 tsp each sugar and Thai chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is firm and opaque, 5-10 minutes. Garnish each serving with 1 Tbsp each of fresh basil leaves and cilantro. Discard lemongrass. Serves 4.

Notes/Results: I made the recipe as written except I used "lite" coconut milk (it is slightly thinner than regular coconut milk but it reduces the fat content by about 60% and I like to cut where I can). I also added some kaffir lime leaves for even more of the tangy lime flavor, and some salt and black pepper. The soup goes together quickly and easily and with lots of flavor. You could easily add more vegetables if you have them hanging around, corn, baby corn, snow peas, red pepper, etc. You can also adjust the amount of heat--I like mine to have a little kick so I used a bit over the teaspoon called for in the recipe. I like this soup by itself but it goes well with a salad or some spring rolls too. I have another recipe for Tom Kha Gai that I have used in the past, that is similar and I think this one, with a few less ingredients is just as tasty. I will make it again.

It seems like soup is warming up lots of people this week and we have a great group crammed into the Souper Sunday Kitchen with lots of yummy recipes to try:

First up is my good friend Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness, home of my favorite gathering, Blog Party. Since I head over there each month for that event, I am excited to finally get Stephanie over here into the Souper Sunday Kitchen. She is a lot of fun and I know she will bring some great music with her. Stephanie cleaned out her pantry for her Refrigerator Soup and I love the combo of vegetables, black beans and barley she came up with. These spur of the moment combos are always my favorite soups and I covet the red soup bowl her tasty brew is in too!

Another one of my good friends doing a little soup magic in her kitchen is Kat from Our Adventures in Japan.  Making the most from a great vegetable sale at her local grocery, Kat blended them with some miso to create her Simple Soup.  The fact that she does all her cooking in one big pot in the kitchen (to conserve space in a small area) is amazing. This soup, served with a fresh carrot  and bean salad and some rice, was the perfect simple, warming dinner on a cold night in Japan.

The delightful Gloria from Cookbook Cuisine popped by with some timely and colorful Christmas Chicken Chili to share for the holiday season.  Full of bright colors and flavors and tons of yummy vegetables and marinated chicken, a bowl of this sounds perfect after a day of braving shopping at the malls! (Especially with the cheesy quesadilla she served with it)

Christine from Kit's Chow is visiting Souper Sundays again with an incredible-looking Goat Curry.  Following a line at the butcher that turned out to be for goat meat, inspired her to grab a couple pounds and make a curry full of delicious exotic spices.  Although the cut of the meat had a bit of bones and wasn't the most delicate thing to eat, Christine thought the flavor was delicious.  We don't see a lot of goat meat here in Hawaii so this curry would be fun to try.

Last, but of course not least is the ever faithful Natashya, of Living In the Kitchen With Puppies, my best pal coming from the cold north of Toronto and ducking in with a warming bowl of Tomato Onion Soup, straight from her slow cooker.  How yummy does this soup look, with not only the tomatoes and onions but potatoes and caraway seeds and garnished with cheese.  Not only that, she made a loaf of bread to accompany this wonderful brew.

Thanks for stopping by Souper Sundays everyone!  What a great group of Bloggers and friends to hang out with and all with incredible soup and soup-like creations to try. Stop by their blogs to give them a little love and see their recipes up close!

If you have a soup (or stew, chili, slow-cooker delight, or other soup-like creation) you want to share at Souper Sunday, email me or leave a comment and I'll add you to the line up.  We will be here every Sunday for the next few months.  (Not that you have to make your soup on Sunday, that's just when I do the round-up each week!)  

Have a wonderful week everyone!


  1. How many soups!

    You can find those bowls, and a matching tureen (which I love) here. It's just too cute.

  2. what a great round-up, thanks for hosting this, Deb :)

  3. Hi Deb
    Congratulations on this week's souper sundays - lovely to watch it grow. I am about to go on an extended trip so merry xmas and I look forward to particpating in late Jan.

  4. A full house! What a great round-up of soupy creations.
    I am totally in love with your Thai soup, my daughter would love it. Plus the bowl of course, I really want bowls like that...
    Soup is perfect fare for this time of year, we are now at -14! (That's 6.8 American)
    The pups run out to pee and run back in. It's not nice out there.

  5. I love the soup round up -- they all look so wonderful! I can't get enough of it this time of year!

  6. Deb. Seriously. I want to lick my monitor at that picture of your Thai soup. There is nothing in the world that sounds more amazingly delicious right now.


  7. Tom kha gai is up there with tom yum gai for my favourite soup. So fragrant! I love this round-up of delicious soups.

  8. great post. i have been making the chix cooconut soup from sunset as well. love it! so easy and so good.


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