Rich went to see Madonna’s concert with our friend Golnaz, and they stopped at Penny’s – my favorite noodle place – for dinner. They both had Lad Nar (yum!) for dinner, but Golnaz also had a bowl of Tom Kha Kai – coconut curry chicken soup – which she shared with Rich, and he came home raving about it. Then he found a recipe and asked me to take a stab at it.
That recipe had a few ingredient challenges in it, but with a little research, I came up with this:
•Boneless, skinless chicken, cut into small chunks
•1 onion, diced
•1 cup celery, sliced
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•8 oz. ‘shrooms, sliced
•1 red pepper, sliced
•3 jalapeños, sliced
•5 cups coconut milk
•4 cups chicken or veggie stock
•2 tbsp red curry paste
•2 stalks lemongrass, bruised (see below)
•2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
•Peel of 3 limes
•1/4 cup fish sauce
•1 tsp hot chili sesame oi
•3 scallions, sliced
•Juice of two limes
A note on the jalapeños: Rich thought this soup was actually a little bit better than Penny’s, but it was quite spicy. Adjust the number of jalapeños or scrape out the seeds before adding them if you want a milder soup.
Lemongrass: my kinda white bread market carries trimmed lemongrass in with the fresh herb section of the produce department, so all I had to do was slice a couple of pieces into sections and then cut slits in each section (this is bruising) to allow the flavor to spread throughout the broth.
First, make the stock:
Stir the coconut milk, chicken or veggie broth, red curry paste, ginger, lime peel, and lemongrass together in a large stock pot.
Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Add the fish stock (more or less than 1/4 cup, to taste) and continue simmering for 40 minutes.
Heat the canola oil over medium high heat in a stir fry pan and add the onion, celery, ‘shrooms, garlic and peppers.
Sauté for four minutes, then add the chicken and cook for another three minutes or so – just until the chicken firms up.
Add sesame chili oil and lime juice to taste, then serve with cilantro, basil, and scallions. You could add some fresh sliced chilies if you like, but we didn’t think they were needed.
Nice soup. Authentic? Not quite. I like to think of this as the kind of coconut curry chicken soup my mom would’ve made.
Ermmm; if my mom had ever made coconut curry chicken soup.