Tom kha kai or chicken coconut soup is one of Thailand’s signature dishes. Coconut milk and immature galangal provide rich and unusual flavour.
Tom kka kai, renowned as chicken in coconut soup, names after immature kha or galangal included as a prominent ingredient. Like tom yum soup, it also includes galangal, lemongrass and makrut lime leaves to have a perfect tom yum flavour, but using immature galangal in more quantity. The immature galangal is popularly cut crosswise into thin slices.
- 200 g chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
- 2½ cup coconut milk
- 20 thin slices of immature galangal
- 1 lemongrass stalks, cut into 2-inch lengths and crushed (or sliced diagonally)
- 3-4 citrus leaves (use makrut lime leaves if available), midribs removed and torn into pieces
- 1 tbsp Thai chili paste (optional)
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 5 fresh hot chilies, crushed
- Chopped coriander, for sprinkling
- Add the coconut milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-height heat. Add the galangal, lemongrass and citrus leaves and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant.
- Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, or until done. Remove from heat.
- Season to taste with the Thai chili paste, fish sauce, lime juice and crushed fresh hot chilies.
- To serve, spoon the tom kha kai into a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped coriander. Serve garnished with coriander leaves and sliced fresh chilies.
Tip: the Thai chili paste is added to make the dish look a little reddish and enhance flavour.