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January 14, 2009

Tom Khaa Kai- Here is the recipe

We invariably order this soup every time we are in a Thai restaurant. I have done various versions of this recipe and they were made guessing what the ingredients might be. While I was pretty close to what was in the soup, the one ingredient that was missing all this while was the fish sauce. I am not a big fan of sea food and hence vary of adding fish sauce to my dish and this time decided to be brave enough to use it. It truly did not smell or taste fishy.

My friend "M" was visiting Thailand and I requested him to buy me an authentic Thai cookbook, my friend "S" carried it from India for me. While I was eagerly waiting for this cookbook, I chanced upon a couple of Thai cookbooks in the library and since I was in a hurry checked both of them hurriedly, only to realize that they were the exact same cookbooks, one was hardcover and the other, paperback. A week later my friend gives me the cookbook "M" picked up and what are the chances that it is 3rd copy I have in the house????

Coconut Milk- 3 cups from the can diluted with 3 cups water
lemon Grass- 2 (white part only, bruised)
Galangal- 1 inch, minced
Shallots - 4 (smashed with a pestle)
Skinless chicken breast - 14 oz (cut in thin slices)
Fish Sauce - 1 T
Jaggery or dark brown sugar - 1 T
Tomatoes - 2 ( roughly chopped)
Mushrooms - 2/3 cup
Lime Juice - 3 T
Kaffir lime leaves - 6 (torn in half)
Green chillies - 5 (thinly sliced)
Cilantro - for garnish

  • Put the coconut milk, galangal and shallots in a saucepan over medium heat and bring it to a boil.
  • Add the chicken,fish sauce and jaggery and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, this takes about 5-8 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the lime juice,kaffir lime leaves and tomatoes in the last few seconds. But take care that the tomatoes do not lose their shape.
  • Check for seasonings and adjust per taste
  1. Make this soup vegetarian by adding more mushrooms, julienned carrots and very thinly sliced red bell peppers.
  2. The soup will and is supposed to split- so dont freak out :)
  3. The soup is supposed to have a a good balance of sour,sweet and salt and not overwhelmingly hot.
  4. You can add shrimp as well.
I reduced or added a little bit more of few ingredients to our liking. But the recipe is from the book, " The Food Of Thailand - A Journey For Food Lovers"

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