Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tom Kha Soup Adventures

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instagram photo: heidiwish  photo IMG_8208.jpg
instagram photo: heidiwish

So, I was driving down Pine Ridge Road a few weeks ago, or a few months ago, i have no sense of time these days, when i remembered that i promised myself a trip to the Asian Market.  I knew i was very close, but i couldn't find it. this went on for...months. i guess i was too lazy to really LOOK for it. 

I've heard of friends going to the Asian Market for years and each time it came up in conversation, I was all, "oh, yeah. i've been meaning to go there!"

so, like i was readying for a field trip into an unknown land, i dropped the kids at the bus stop, buckled my baby in her seat and grabbed my Tom Kha soup recipe i had pieced together off various sites on the web the day prior. i was excited to finally make my way into this place. this mysterious, elusive place.

i finally found it, but if you are not careful, you will miss it's red letters and asian lanterns hanging in front beckoning you in. 

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this market is an authentic gem, nestled away in a naples plaza. i felt like i was in another country and i quickly learned that i may as well could have been. my senses were in overload with the colors and smells that welcomed Ivy and I. i couldn't find a single thing i needed. luckily, a young woman was there stocking her basket with only green veggies to make a stir-fry. i instantly wondered if adding red and yellow peppers to a stir-fry dish was an "americanized" version of the recipe. she helped me find all the items on my list. of course, i wanted to beg her to take me with her to her house to teach me everything she knew on thai cuisine, but i refrained. 

the recipe i am sharing tonight, is one that i pieced together from about five different recipes i found on the web. i have to say that i really liked this version. it was easy and the flavor satisfying. there is probably a better recipe out there, as i am not an expert, but if you do try it, please let me know you did!

there are a lot of ingredients, but don't be put off by that. this is a super simple soup to make and you can find most items at the grocery store if you don't have an asian market nearby. not having the perfect ingredient list on hand, forces you to be creative. 

Tom Kha Soup


1 1/4 can Coconut Milk
3 cups chicken broth
5 green onions, chop both white and half green stem into small pcs.
1/4 cup thai basil leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
{2 stalk lemongrass, washed well chopped into 3-inch pieces}
{1 chili pepper, cut in half long way. scrape seeds out unless you like heat}
{chuck fresh ginger, cut into three pieces}
{chunk fresh galangal, cut into three pieces} 
{2 kaffir lime leaves that pinch with my fingers to release flavor}
juice of 1 lime
1 cup button mushrooms
3 chicken breast, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons (or more to taste) Ground fresh chili paste (the brand i used Sambal Oelek)
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped plus more for garnish
Spiced chili oil, optional garnish
3 tablespoon veggie oil

*{these items are cut into larger pieces as they are used to flavor the soup and are then removed before eating. please keep this in mind when chopping these ingreds.}
*in case you're looking, i didn't use fish sauce
*galangal is also called kha and is optional. if you don't have it, no biggie. move on.


Using my dutch oven (large stock pot would work), i added veggie oil and cooked over medium heat to soften: lemongrass, galangal, ginger, garlic, and chili pepper. about 2 minutes. please do not burn garlic.

Add chicken broth, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms and bring to a boil and add your chopped chicken, turn heat down just a bit and let simmer. stir often.

now you are ready to add the coconut milk, chili paste, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, and lime juice.

cover and simmer. i love to let things simmer...it gets everything tasting like it belongs together. it could be done in 20  minutes, but i would let simmer over med-low heat for 40 minutes.

remove {these items} and serve in a beautiful bowl and garnish with cilantro leaves and drizzle with a little spiced chili oil. looks great, tastes beautiful. 

i hope i didn't forget anything and i hope you enjoy it. feel free to google a hundred different recipes and coming up with your own variation and technique. 

NO RULES here!

for more meal ideas and recipes: i post more on Instagram. My username is: heidiwish


Rhonda said...

can't wait to try :) thank you sweet lady xo

Anonymous said...

Love Tom Ka Gai....so yummy :-) My little tweak is lemon juice instead of lime!
Am definitely going to try your white bean soup, specially now we are coming into Autumn here.

Nice to see you on the blog... :-)
Leanne H @picsnapper

annb72 said...

yea!!! so glad to read another of your blogs :) thanks for sharing your life and passions with us here and on IG :)

Rosa said...

must try! sounds yum

JENN said...

Made this soup last night. So good, thank you! I did end up adding the fish sauce and a bit more coconut milk. This was almost as good as the Tom Kha from my favorite Thai restaurant! Thank you again!

Cody said...

Oh my! This looks incredible. Tom kha is one of my favorites. I'll have to try this recipe one of these days! Thanks for sharing!

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