Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tom Kha (Thai Coconut Soup)

I've noticed that I've been getting sick a lot more frequently lately. Yup, you guessed it. I'm sick again. I think this is the 2nd time in the past 6 months that I've been home sick with either a cough or cold or both. This time, this cough hit me pretty hard. I've had it for almost a week with no relief in sight. Before I had my daughter, it was rare that I would be out sick from work. I'll have a slight cold, but not enough to have to call-in sick. My motto back then was "through rain, sleet, hail, or snow, I'll still report to work." Nowadays, I get so sick that my whole body aches and I can't even get out of bed. Call it age or stress or whatever the cause may be, whenever I'm sick, I always crave for some soothing soup. And because of my sore throat, I wanted a sour soup.

I've made this recipe for Tom Kha a while ago but haven't put it in this blog yet. And I've been meaning to make it again. We order Tom Kha at our favorite Thai restaurants most often during the cold season. And when I found it in my Thai cookbook, I couldn't believe how easy it was. The only hard part was getting all the ingredients. I'm fortunate to have my office close to a Thai market where I can get most of my ingredients whenever I feel like cooking Thai food.

4 stalks of lemon grass, roots trimmed
2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
10 black peppercorns, crushed
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
10-12 shrimps, peeled and de-veined
1 cup button mushrooms
1/2 cup baby corn, cut into bite-sized pieces
4 Tbsp. lime juice
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
1-2 Tbsp. Thai chili paste
chopped green onions, for garnish
chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

1) Cut off the lower 2 inches from each lemon grass stalk and chop finely. Bruise the remaining pieces of stalk.

2) Bring the coconut milk and broth to boil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add chopped and bruised lemon grass, ginger, and peppercorns. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Strain the soup.

3) Return the soup into the pan over low heat. Stir in chicken, mushrooms, and corn. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally for 5-7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked. Add shrimps during the last 2 minutes of simmer. Stir in lime juice, fish sauce, and Thai chili paste until well incorporated. Serve hot in bowls with green onions and cilantro for garnish.

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