I love Asian food. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Filipino. They are all great.
I love flavor and Asian foods all seem to have a complex and deep flavor profile.
Sadly, I live in a small, rural, southern town with very little ethnic influence. Our selection of Asian restaurants is limited to three mediocre options and the Asian section of the grocery store leaves a lot to be desired.
Curry pastes, rice noodles and ginger are relatively new to my local grocery store. Lemongrass is impossible to find and fresh mushrooms are usually limited to the “baby Bella” variety.
So when you can’t get takeout and you can’t find common Asian ingredients you have to get creative. Tom Kha Gai soup is one of my favorite Thai dishes. This is my take on the dish using what’s available in my local grocery store.
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 Shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 lime, zested
- 1 heaping tablespoon Thai Red Curry Paste
- 1 teaspoon oyster or fish sauce
- 1 pound chicken breast
- 2 can coconut milk
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 8 ounces oyster mushrooms
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Thai chili suace to taste
- rice noodles or basmati rice
- chopped unsalted peanuts
- Thinly slice 1 pound of chicken breasts.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large soup pot or dutch oven. Saute chicken until it is brown on the outside. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Note: The chicken will not be cooked all the way through at this point.
- While the chicken is cooking remove the stems from the cilantro and chop into small pieces. Reserve the leaves for later. Mince the shallot, grate the garlic and ginger and zest the lemon and the lime.
- After removing the chicken add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil to the pan. Dump in the cilantro stems, the shallot, garlic, ginger and citrus zest. Stir over medium heat until the garlic begins to get fragrant.
- Add the oyster sauce and the curry paste.
- Open both cans of coconut milk and scoop the thick cream off the top and add to the curry and vegetable mix. Stir until well combined. Add the remaining liquid in the coconut milk cans and the chicken stock. Heat to a low simmer.
- Roughly chop the oyster mushrooms and quarter the baby Bellas. Add the mushrooms and chicken into the soup. Cook over a low simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the chicken to cook through.
- Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if needed.
- Add 1 teaspoon of the Thai chili sauce for a bit of heat. You can add more or less depending on your tastes.
- Serve the soup in bowls and sprinkle with some freshly chopped cilantro leaves.
- This soup is also really great served over a bit of basmati rice or with rice noodles added to it. Chopped peanuts sprinkled on top also add great flavor and crunch.