Steve’s Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken & Coconut Milk Soup)

Add 96 oz of chicken broth to a large stock pot. Simmer uncovered to reduce the broth volume by one-third to 64 oz.

Cut the onion into bite-sized pieces (about 1” square) and simmer in the broth until the pieces start to turn soft. Do not overcook or they will become mushy. Remove the cooked onions from the broth and set aside.

Slice unpeeled galangal root into 1 mm slices.

Trim and discard the dry green stalks from the lemon grass. Cut remainder into 4" lengths and smash to release the juices.

Add the galangal root and lemon grass to the chicken broth. Cover and lightly simmer for 30 minutes.

Gently tear each Kaffir lime leaf in several places to release the juices. (Do not tear through the center rib or the leaves will fall apart.)

Add the Kaffir lime leaves to the broth and remove from heat. Let covered pot stand for at least 1 hour to let the flavors infuse into the broth. Remove the solids from the broth.

Add the tamarind, fish sauce, lime juice, palm sugar, mushrooms (drained), and dried red pepper flakes to the broth. Bring to a light simmer again and immediately remove from heat.

Add the cooked onions, coconut milk (40.5 oz), cilantro, and several of the Thai chilies to the warm broth. (The cilantro brings out the flavors of the other ingredients but will not add a recognizable cilantro taste.)

Adjust flavor with salt, palm sugar, red pepper, and fish sauce as needed.

Cut the chicken breasts into bite sized (about 1” x ½” x ⅛”) pieces. In a separate small pot, bring a small amount of chicken broth to a simmer. Add a small number of the chicken pieces to the broth. When the outside of each piece turns white, remove immediately and set aside. Repeat until all the chicken pieces have been poached. (The inside of each piece should be slightly pink. If the chicken is allowed to cook all the way through it will become tough and dry. The chicken will continue to cook when served as it sits in the hot soup.)

The soup and poached chicken pieces can be refrigerated separately and served later. To serve, first heat the soup in a microwave oven. Then add the poached chicken to each serving. Serve with sliced Thai chilies. Serves 8 persons.

*Note: In Marin County, the coconut milk, straw mushrooms, galangal root, lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, concentrate cooking tamarind, fish sauce, and Thai chilies can be purchased at:

Asian Market
5 Mary Street
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 459-7133