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Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk, Lime, and Cilantro

Falling Cloudberries
by Tessa Kiros

(Tom Ka Gai)
I just wouldn't cope with not knowing how to make some version of this soup. I love it. You can add a few mushrooms, a couple of fresh spinach leaves, or some slices of zucchini in with the chicken. Also wonderful instead of the chicken is to cook some large, shelled shrimp on a barbecue or grill pan and toss them into the soup just before serving. The fish sauce is the salt in this soup so adjust the quantities according to your taste (and the same with the chile). I like it not too strong. Keep the cilantro stems in your freezer to add flavor to a broth or stew.
Serves 4


• 1½ inch piece of galangal or ginger, peeled and sliced
• small bunch fresh cilantro with roots
• 4 makrut leaves, torn
• 1 stem lemongrass, halved lengthwise
• 3 tablespoons fish sauce
• juice of 2 small limes
• 1¾ cups coconut milk
• 1/2 pound skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
• 1 red chile, seeded and sliced


Put the galangal, cilantro roots, lime leaves, lemongrass, and 4 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Add the fish sauce and lime juice, decrease the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the cilantro roots. Add the coconut milk, bring back to a boil, and boil for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken pieces and cook for just a minute or so, until the chicken is soft and milky looking and cooked through. Throw in the chile and mix well.

Serve in bowls with the cilantro leaves roughly chopped and scattered over the top.


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