Thai chicken lemon grass coconut soup (tom kai)

  • Time 15-minutes
  • Yield Makes 12 cups (3 L) for 6 servings


    1 small onion, thinly sliced
    3 lemon grass stalks, crushed
    6 fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves
    1 piece ginger, 4 inches (10 cm) long, peeled and sliced
    1 piece galangal, 4 inches (10 cm) long,peeled and sliced
    7½ cups (1.9 L) chicken broth
    2 cans (each 400 mL) coconut milk
    2 to 4 tsp (10 to 20 mL) fish sauce
    1 to 3 tsp (5 to 15 mL) palm or granulated sugar(optional)
    3 boneless skinless chicken breasts,about 1 lb (500 g)
    ½ red pepper, thinly sliced into strips
    ⅛ tsp (0.5 mL) salt
    ¼ lb (125 g) fresh shiitake or button mushrooms,thinly sliced
    3 green onions, thinly sliced
    1 lime, cut into wedges
    ½ cup (125 mL) Thai basil leaves or cilantro sprigs for garnish


    Place onion, lemon grass, lime leaves, ginger and galangal in a large pot.
    Pour in broth.Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduceheat so broth is simmering. Simmer until very flavourful, 20 minutes. Strain into a bowl.
    Pour broth back into pot. Stir in coconutmilk. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-highheat. Stir in fish sauce.
    Taste and add sugar,if you like.
    Meanwhile, thinly slice chicken and red pepper into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle chicken with salt.
    When broth is gently boiling, stir in chicken, peppers, mushrooms and green onions. Bring back to a gentle simmer.
    Gently simmer, stirring frequently until chicken is cooked through and vegetables soften, 2 to 5 minutes.
    Do not vigorously boil. Divide between bowls. Squeeze a wedge of lime into each.
    Serve garnished with basil.

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