Food Hack – How to Make Tom Ka Gai! (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

video://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZI98Vuzg4U

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Today, I will show you how to make “authentic” Tom Ka Gai, a Thai coconut chicken soup and my favorite soup ever.

You can trust me on this as my girlfriend is Thai and she’s taught me how to make it about a year ago.  Best of all, she’s approved of my authenticity of making good Thai coconut soup.  She has also lived in Thailand most of her life so this is going to be as authentic as you can get, next to being a professional Thai cook from Thailand.

This is the northen Chiang-Mai style, just in case you are Thai.

Here’s the ingredients you will need before we begin:

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7 or 8 shallots – These are basically Thai-style onions I’d say.  If you don’t wear contacts like me, just make sure to wear something to protect your eyes unless you are a hardcore cook who doesn’t mind some eye stings.

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Chicken Breat Meat – Chicken is the main ingredient for Tom Ka Gai, if you prefer something like shrimps, that could be a good substitute.  Get the breast meat without bones so you get all “meat”.  About 1.5 pounds of chicken should do.

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Mushrooms – You can get some regular mushrooms like me or even get some special ones but make sure “shrooms” are included in your soup.

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Limes – You will need limes for sure as they will control how “sour” your soup will taste, a key ingredient among most Thai dishes.  You can also use the leftover Limes after you use it for cleaning or refreshing your kitchen counter-top, so don’t just throw them away after cooking.

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ChaKoh Coconut Milk - You will need a can of coconut milk and I highly suggest an authentic ChaKoh brand, most Thai people will prefer this one over any others.

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Galanga (White Ginger) - You will need galanga, or white ginger as people call it in America.  This is the main, main ingredient that will soak your soup into a special “herb” taste so get this, not regular ginger.  These things are hard to find sometimes but your local Chinese market should have them.  They basically look like giant ginger so…

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Thai Chili – You will need these Thai chilis for spicying up your soup.  You probably need about 10-15 of these but you can “freeze” any leftovers in your freezer to use it over the next 6 months or even more.

Tiparos Fish Sauce – You will also need fish sauce to make the soup taste right, I highly recommend Tiparos brand and nothing else.

Cilantro – You can add cilantros right before you serve the soup.

Tomatoes (optional) – I didn’t include tomatoes in this session (because I forgot) but you do have an option of adding 1 tomatoe, sliced up for more “sour” taste.

Lemon Grass(optional) – Most Thai dishes use lemon grass but this one doesn’t need it unless you really want to add some lemon grass. (I am not stopping you from extra work.)

Directions on How to Make Tom Ka Gai

Once you have all the ingredients. Next, you will want to start cutting up everything before you begin cooking.

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First, cut up all the shallots sorta like shown here.  Take the covers off and slice them into small pieces.

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Next, cut the skin off the galanga (or white ginger).  You need to do this so the flavor from galanga juice is fused into the soup.  You don’t really eat the galanga (but you can).  You just need about 1/2 handful of this stuff as shown in this picture so don’t go overboard.

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Then, cut the galanga into little slices.

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Next, get about 5-10 Thai chilis.  Depending on how spicy you want the soup to be, you will want to add less or more.  As for me, I usually add 15-20 chilis, and I like it super-duper spicy so just add little bit at a time if you can’t handle the hotness.

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The smaller you cut the Thai chilis into, the hotter the soup will be so cut accordingly!

Next, cut the chicken breast and mushrooms into small pieces.

Now you are ready, get about 2-3 cups of water and start boiling it along with your shallots, Thai chilis, galanga (white ginger), and mushrooms.

When the pot starts boiling, add the whole can of coconut milk , chicken brests, and optionally tomato slices.  Bring the heat down a little bit, let the pot simmer for 5-15 minutes.

After 5-15 minutes, check if your chicken pieces have cooked.  If they have, it’s time to start flavoring the soup with lime and fish sauce.

Squeeze about 3-4 limes into the soup and keep adding fish sauce until the soup tastes “just right”.

As a rule of thumb, try to make the soup taste slightly milder (not sour) and slightly not too salty.  As the soup “ages” over couple days, it will automatically get more sour and saltier.

Right before serving, add some cilantro pieces for perfect flavor.  (Keep the cilantros separate from the soup if you are going to eat it over the next few days.)

This should be a LOT of soup, enough to serve 5-10 people.  I usually make it and eat it for couple days since the soup gets better over time.

Last but not least, make sure to put the pot in your fridge so it doesn’t go bad!

For ultimate taste, I do highly recommend serving with some type of liquor, I prefer some Korean rice wine or Soju.

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13 Responses to Food Hack – How to Make Tom Ka Gai! (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

  1. Jeff martin says:

    You’ve just made a very easy soup to make, Thank you!

  2. max says:

    Your welcome. :)

  3. Jeff martin says:

    Who ever posted that took my words and played with them to suit themself.

    Obveously from this game you play and your comment, Im dealing with a child…”SHUT UP” That’s real grown up, Very adult. Food to me is a passion and if you can’t take a critic you have no reason to be posting.

    And as for my proving myself to you, I’ve proven myself to millions in the last 35 years.

    You want to talk shop, E-mail me direct……< PS Try posting what people really have to say , not what you wish they’d say…<

  4. Jeff martin says:

    Look Max, My first atempt to post was not out of malice, I was truly concerned that you made the instructions too difficult for the average home cook.

    Please except my appolagy and lets talk about whats important and thats FOOD and how to convy an ease of exicution on any dish we offer to the mass’s.

    Lets be Culinary Friends!….What do ya say!…

  5. Fritz says:

    Max – thanks bro! tried this the other day and it came out great! used jalapenos instead of thai chilis and regular ginger (I know I know….) instead of galangal but it still worked. I also used lemongrass that we grew last summer and had in our freezer (it lasts a long time in the freezer!) and I added a bit of some thai chilli/spice paste. On day two of having this soup I soaked some rice noodles and put them in before heating the bowl up in the microwave – that was a really nice addition. Once again, thanks a lot, and go Tiger Woods!!!

  6. Fritz says:

    Max – thanks bro! tried this the other day and it came out great! used jalapenos instead of thai chilis and regular ginger (I know I know….) instead of galangal but it still worked. I also used lemongrass that we grew last summer and had in our freezer (it lasts a long time in the freezer!) and I added a bit of some thai chilli/spice paste. On day two of having this soup I soaked some rice noodles and put them in before heating the bowl up in the microwave – that was a really nice addition. Once again, thanks a lot, and go Tiger Woods!!!

  7. Stuart Tyrnauer says:

    Isnt traditional Tom Kha Gai without some lemon grass kiefer leaves, lime juice, sugar and Thai fish sauce. In addition my (Thai) daughter in law adds 1-2 Tbs. Pantianorasingh Chili Paste with Soya Bean Oil (a product of Thailand). Also, you want to stew the basic ingredients (shallots, lemon grass, kieffer leabves, galangal, etc in the pot with the chili paste for a few minutes to get things started. Now that is an awesome Tom Ka Gai!

  8. Stuart Tyrnauer says:

    Traditional Ton Kha Gai requires lemon grass, kieffer leaves, lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce in addition to your ingredients. My Thai Daughter in Law also adds 1-2 Tbs of Pantianorasingh Chili Paste and Soy Bean Oil ( a product of Thailand) fora wonderful traditional result. In addition, you have to “stew” the basic flavorings in the bottom of the skillit, before adding the balance of the ingredients. Its hard to imagine what your recipe might tast like. Let me know if you try it.

  9. Stuart Tyrnauer says:

    Isnt traditional Tom Kha Gai without some lemon grass kiefer leaves, lime juice, sugar and Thai fish sauce. In addition my (Thai) daughter in law adds 1-2 Tbs. Pantianorasingh Chili Paste with Soya Bean Oil (a product of Thailand). Also, you want to stew the basic ingredients (shallots, lemon grass, kieffer leabves, galangal, etc in the pot with the chili paste for a few minutes to get things started. Now that is an awesome Tom Ka Gai!

  10. Stuart Tyrnauer says:

    Traditional Ton Kha Gai requires lemon grass, kieffer leaves, lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce in addition to your ingredients. My Thai Daughter in Law also adds 1-2 Tbs of Pantianorasingh Chili Paste and Soy Bean Oil ( a product of Thailand) fora wonderful traditional result. In addition, you have to “stew” the basic flavorings in the bottom of the skillit, before adding the balance of the ingredients. Its hard to imagine what your recipe might tast like. Let me know if you try it.

  11. Ricky Deschamps says:

    I’ve been a fan of this soup for the longest time, I had looked for recipes but they would make it sound so exotic and hard to make, nobody was nice enough to say: galanga=white ginger!!! I cooked it today at home and I was very excited with the results!!! Thanks for having had the time to share it with the world.

    I would probably add that, if you like it more creamy, to add more coconut milk. Any suggestions? Other than that you are my hero.

    Sincerely,

    Thai Food lover
    P.S. Is there to make thai tea buying regular stuff instead of the thai tea mix? (maybe red tea and chai?)

  12. Ricky Deschamps says:

    My question again, revisited:
    Is there a way to make thai tea buying regular stuff instead of the thai tea mix? (maybe red tea and chai?)

    Thanks

  13. max says:

    Yes, you can make your Thai tea, go to a “real” Thai supermarket and you can ask them for Thai tea bags. I make a ton of Thai tea all the time.

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