Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut and Galangal) Recipe

Why It Performs

  • A galangal-infused inventory puts the important flavor of the soup entrance and center.
  • Incorporating aromatics in levels makes a broth with layered flavors.
  • Building the soup with rooster inventory and coconut product produces a broth that’s both of those light and creamy.

Tom kha gai, a Thai rooster soup with coconut and galangal, has received a place on practically each Thai cafe menu in the West, and I frequently request myself…why? The most obvious respond to is uncomplicated: Persons like creaminess, as perfectly as sour and salty flavors. Pair these components with hen and the pretty much medicinal flavor of galangal and you have a best illustration of comfort foods, a soup that warms your soul and human body. Having said that, in my knowledge, the soup frequently fails to fulfill its possible. Many renditions contain as well considerably coconut cream, creating it experience like I’m sipping a warm smoothie, and they usually really don’t have plenty of of that crucial galangal flavor. The galangal is just not negotiable: after all, the soup is referred to as tom kha, which translates to “boiled galangal.”

As I thought about strategies to improve the galangal flavor in the soup, I assumed of how ginger is at times well prepared in many Chinese dishes: It can be pounded or blended with water in advance of getting strained to make ginger water. (Since I’m referring to ginger, I must say this below: please do not permit me catch you building this soup with ginger. It is really not a substitute for galangal.) I tested this technique with galangal by pounding it in a mortar and pestle and then pouring heat chicken stock above the paste to enable it infuse. Right after about 20 minutes, I was left with a concentrated galangal inventory that tasted peppery and medicinal accurately what I want in a tom kha. 

Serious Eats / Vicky Wasik


Owning answered the issue of boosting the galangal flavor, I following had to stop the soup from turning into a coconut smoothie. The alternative is straightforward, reducing the coconut cream with one thing else to lighten the broth. Though some will get to for drinking water here, I pick to construct a extra deeply chicken-y soup by using a loaded chicken inventory that is seasoned with fish sauce and packed with aromatics like lemongrass and shallots. The addition of shallots delivers undertones of sweetness that echo the later on addition of coconut milk without adding extra sugar.

At the time the hen is cooked as a result of, I incorporate the coconut product, fresh chiles, and makrut lime leaves to the pot. By adding these ingredients at the very conclusion, the delicate taste of the coconut product is preserved and the dazzling and refreshing flavors of people finishing aromatics are left intact.

Last but not least, I season the soup with equivalent pieces fish sauce for saltiness and umami and lime juice for sourness. To make a complete food out of this, I advocate serving the tom kha gai with jasmine rice, green papaya salad, and makheua yao pad tao jiao (stir-fried eggplant). 

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