Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kha Gai may very well be my favorite way to make chicken soup. Red chili for spice, fish sauce for brine, tender chicken and slippery udon noodles to satisfy hungry bellies, and nourishing coconut milk blended with chicken stock to fortify even the weariest eater.
You can easily alter this recipe to include your favorite additions. I like it teeming with mushrooms, sauteed onion, fresh spinach and cilantro. Other favorites include bamboo shoots, shrimp, chili peppers, sprouts, sweet peppers or snow peas. If you keep the basics on hand, this soup can be prepared, ladled into bowls and blissfully spooned into ready mouths in under 20 minutes. Not bad for fast food.

Thai Tom Kha Gai: (moderately spicy)
*1 small sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
*1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
*2 cups favorite mushroom, rinsed and quartered
*4 cups high quality chicken broth
*2 teaspoons red chili paste (decrease for less heat)
*1 tablespoon fish sauce
*1 whole chicken breast cubed or 2 cups roasted chicken
*1/2 package high quality udon noodles (I used Eden Organic's Kamut Udon)
*1 15oz can high quality coconut milk
*fresh spinach and cilantro
*fresh lime wedges

For a gluten-free version, omit udon and serve with steamed rice.

Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Add olive oil or butter and saute onion. Stir. Add mushrooms. Cook briefly before adding chicken broth. Whisk in the chili paste and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer. Add chicken pieces and udon noodles. Reduce heat to medium low. When chicken is mostly cooked through and udon noodles swell, add coconut milk. Stir.
Allow chicken to fully cook before removing from heat.
Gently stir in spinach. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with cilantro and fresh lime wedges.


  1. I love Tom Kha Gai. It's my favorite Thai soup. I like to steep lemongrass stalks in the broth and then remove them before serving. Perfect for a cool day!

  2. That is what we had for dinner tonight!Thank you Rachel for Yummy comfort food on a perfect autumn day.Love to you and the family!