Thai Lemongrass soup - Tom Kha Gai

THE classic soup from Thailand

INGREDIENTS:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1 cm diced cubes (optional)
1 1/2 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken
4 ounces of shitake mushrooms, chopped fairly small
1 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
4 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
3 3 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass (bottom half only) split lengthwise and cut into 2” pieces
1-2 red chili peppers (Thai, Serrano, or jalapeno), sliced fine
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 can coconut milk, stirred
2- 4 tbsp lime juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
salt and black pepper

YIELD: 6 servings

COURSE: Soups and Stews

CUISINE: Thai

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lime leaves, chilies, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Lower the heat to medium-low; cover the pot and gently simmer to let the spices infuse the broth, about 10 minutes.
  2. If using carrots, dice them and saute until golden and soft, about 12-15 minutes. Likewise, saute and chop/shred the chicken. Transfer both to the stock pot.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, mushrooms, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Simmer to heat the chicken through, about 5-8 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into a soup tureen or individual serving bowls. Garnish with the cilantro. Be careful to avoid chewing the lemongrass, or lime leaves.