Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thai Soup Is Good Food.

The first time I had Thai food was when I moved to Seattle over 20 years ago. I remember I had spicy green curry with fresh basil and lemongrass, a bowl of jasmine rice, and some tofu fresh rolls with peanut sauce. It blew my mind a little bit. Truthfully it took me a few minutes to comprehend the amazing complexity of flavors I was ingesting. The sweetness of coconut milk, the savoriness of the curry spices, and the heat from the chilies and ginger. I went back to that restaurant pretty much every day for lunch the next few weeks and tried everything off their menu. The staff was grumpy as hell but their food was so good so I didn't care. Red curry, massaman curry, pad Thai, pad see ew, larb, tom yum, tom kha gai... it was all delicious. I decided I needed to learn how to make Thai food at home so I bought a few Thai cookbooks and checked out the entire Thai selection at Uwajimaya. After many years of practice I slowly but surely I built up my Thai cookery skills. I am by no means a master of Thai cooking but I can make a pretty mean tom kha gai.

Tom Kha Gai
1 lb. boneless and skinless chicken thighs, sliced
1 cup oyster mushrooms
1 13.5oz can coconut milk
1 yellow onion, halved and sliced
3 cups chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3" pieces and bashed with the back of your knife
4 kaffir lime leaves
3" knob of galangal (or ginger) sliced into thick pieces
4 Thai chilies, sliced
3 tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
fresh cilantro or fresh Thai basil, lightly chopped for garnished
In a large pot over medium high heat add a little peanut oil. Add the onion, garlic, chilies, to the pot and saute until soft but not caramelized. Add the chicken thighs, season with salt, and cook through. Add chicken stock, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves into a pot and bring it to boil. Simmer over medium heat for a 15 minutes. Add mushrooms and coconut milk and simmer for 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and add lime juice and fish sauce to taste. Serve with steamed jasmine rice and chopped cilantro to garnish.