The soup came together quickly and was in the pot simmering away in no time. The aromas wafting up from the pot and through the kitchen transported me back to my trips around Thailand…mmmmm…. Healthy, creamy, flavorful, and addicting, this soup is a summer winner, especially if you have any basil growing in your summer garden.
[UPDATE] Note about authenticity: Someone recently pointed out that this recipe is not authentic, because Tom Khai Gai requires kaffir lime leaves as an aromatic. Strictly speaking, this is correct. Tom Kha Gai is a soup made of chicken (Gai) cooked (Tom) in coconut milk which has been infused with galangal (Kha), lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. However, don’t let this deter you from not making it!! I don’t have easy access to galangal or kaffir lime leaves, but I still make this soup frequently, because it is delicious, despite being less than authentic. Make due with what you have access to!
Tom Khai Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
Makes 6 servings
Adapted from Coconut Chicken Soup recipe on Epicurious.com
2 14-ounce cans light unsweetened coconut milk
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups thinly sliced crimini mushrooms (or whatever mushrooms you prefer)
6 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 Serrano chili, sliced into rounds (I used 2 chilies for extra spice)
2 to 3 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (use more for extra heat)
8 skinless boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1. Combine the coconut milk, chicken broth, mushrooms, lemongrass, fish sauce, ginger, Serrano chili, and chili-garlic sauce in a large saucepan.
2. Heat the mixture over medium high heat. When it begins to boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes, so that the flavors blend.
3. Add the chicken, and continue to let the soup simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
4. Mix in the green onions, basil and lime juice. Serve!