Monday, 27 February 2017

Tom Kha Gai


My favourite dish we discovered in Thailand; Tom Kha is a coconut milk soup fragranced with lemongrass and galangal, with a chilli kick.

Spicy, sour and a little fiery... and the 'Gai' part is Thai for chicken. Although traditionally made with chicken it could be switched for king prawns, tofu or another meat.

I don't know about you, but I don't tend to keep fresh lemongrass and galangal (galan-what I hear you cry?!) in my fridge, so I have adapted to make it super simple yet still deliciously tasty. Galangal is similar to ginger, but with a more subtle flavour, and is often used in Thai cookery - it can be bought fresh in some supermarkets. I use galangal paste (buy: Sainsburys, Waitrose, Asda) and lemongrass paste (buy: Sainsburys, Waitrose, Asda, Morrisons, Tesco) for ease. I also use 'lazy chilli' (like this) instead of fresh. 

Serves 4
Half can be frozen to be used as two meals for two.

450g good quality, shop-bought chicken stock (e.g. this from Sainsburys)
1 chicken stock cube
1 tablespoon galangal paste
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
6 kaffir lime leaves
1 large red onion, cut in to wedges
1 handful green/dwarf beans topped and tailed
1 red pepper, diced
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 lime, juiced
1 red chilli, chopped (or a teaspoon of lazy chilli)
1 400ml tin coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar
4 chicken breasts, diced

Start by adding the bought chicken stock to a large saucepan, and then refilling the empty stock carton with water and adding to the sauce pan with the stock cube. Throw in the galangal paste, lemongrass paste, kaffir lime leaves and red onion. Bring to the boil before leaving to simmer for thirty minutes.

Add the green beans, red pepper, fish sauce, lime juice, chilli, coconut milk and sugar. If you can handle more heat, then add more chilli to taste.

If you are making for four people, add all the chicken now. Adding the chicken raw to the liquid poaches it, keeping it succulent and tasty.

If you are making for two and freezing the rest for another time, then add just two diced chicken breasts. 

Slowly bring to almost boiling point, before simmering for around 10 minutes. Check the chicken is cooked through before serving.

Divide in to four bowls and serve each with a small bowl of steamed or sticky rice. I usually have some extra diced chilli on the table (or Sriracha chilli sauce) and lime wedges so people can season to taste.

If you are freezing two portions for later then serve two bowls now (serving all the meat and veggies), pop the rest of the liquid to cool in a tupperware before freezing. Defrost thoroughly before reheating again in a saucepan, adding fresh beans, peppers and chicken and simmering for 10 minutes as before. Make sure the chicken is cooked through.

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