Tom Kha Gai

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BT
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2004/07/05 17:44:37 (permalink)

Tom Kha Gai

Otherwise known as Thai chicken/lemongrass/galanga/coconut soup. It's one of my favorite soups. Nearly every Thai restuarant serves it, and it's always good, but I recently had some as a snack in a new fast-food Thai chain I encountered near Moscone Center in San Francisco called Cha-Am. It was unusual because it was thicker with coconut milk than usual and sweeter--actually, as a snack it was near perfect though it might be a little too heavy (compared with most versions) as the opener to a meal. Still, YUM!
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    carlton pierre
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/06 11:07:00 (permalink)
    Is this also known as Tom Yum soup; probably is. I agree with you that this is a killer soup. Excellent.


    I've never tried amking an "oriental" type soup such as this? Has anyone else had success?

    carl reitz
    #2
    BT
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 01:12:33 (permalink)
    I don't think they are quite the same. The recipes I've been able to find look very similar except Tom Yum seems to lack the coconut milk found in Yom Kha. "Gai" simply means "chicken"--there are shrimp, mushroom and other versions of both.
    #3
    GordonW
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 01:25:16 (permalink)
    I've always wanted to try Thai soups, but where do you get kaffir lime leaves?
    #4
    berndog
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 02:54:10 (permalink)
    Carlton, this is very different from Tom Yum. I also love Tom Yum soup, and it has a very spicy broth seasoned with lemon grass, and chilis. Also usually has some tomato in addition to the mushrooms.

    The Tom Kha I've had has always had a white colored, mild, slightly sweet broth (from the coconut milk). Thai food is one of my favorites. I really like Phat Thai, the rice noodles with various meats or seafood and s spicy sweet peanut sauce.
    #5
    carlton pierre
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 08:32:39 (permalink)
    Berndog, do you make Thai soups at home? Frankly, the only place I ahve ever found lemon grass, for instance, is at Jungle Jim's. I have not shopped the local asian super market enough to know if they would carry it. Help me out.

    carl reitz
    #6
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 08:45:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by carlton pierre

    Berndog, do you make Thai soups at home? Frankly, the only place I ahve ever found lemon grass, for instance, is at Jungle Jim's. I have not shopped the local asian super market enough to know if they would carry it. Help me out.

    carl reitz


    Carlton, there is a real good Thai restaurant in Maryville called "Lemon Grass" on Lamar Alexander Parkway. it is across the street from Krogers and Target. It is very good.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #7
    Rhodes
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 10:23:56 (permalink)
    True Thai by Victor Sodsook has recipes for Tom Yam and Tom Kha Gai that blow away any versions I have had in restaurants - to die for. It's a bit involved since you have to make a chili-tamarind seasoning paste first, but more than worth the effort. I can get SO to agree to almost anything with the promise of that home-made Tom Kha Gai You should be able to find everything you need (lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves etc) at a decent oriental market.
    #8
    GordonW
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 18:48:15 (permalink)
    I grew lemmon grass in the garden this year (in central North Carolina). Worked real well, and is pretty -- a big (3 ft tall), bushy grass tuft. So well, in fact, it blocked sunlight to some of the tomato plants. Still haven't grown kaffir lime.
    #9
    carlton pierre
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 21:30:27 (permalink)
    Gordon, did you grow the lemongrass to put in soup?

    carl reitz
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    GordonW
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/07 22:46:11 (permalink)
    Carl: Yes. It's not real strong, but it does have the flavor.
    #11
    BT
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/14 02:58:59 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by carlton pierre

    Berndog, do you make Thai soups at home? Frankly, the only place I ahve ever found lemon grass, for instance, is at Jungle Jim's. I have not shopped the local asian super market enough to know if they would carry it. Help me out.

    carl reitz


    In San Francisco most Asian markets have lemongrass. But you can also buy a lemongrass paste in a tube at many supermarkets (usually in the produce section). This and galanga are really the critical ingredients. The other ingredients are fairly easy to find such as fish sauce.

    Here's a simple recipe (from "Quick and Easy Thai" by Nancy McDermott):

    2 tbsp lime juice
    2 tbsp fish sauce
    2 green onions, sliced
    6 wild lime leaves, torn (optional!!!)
    2 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
    1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    10 to 12 slices galanga (fresh, frozen or dried)
    2 stalks fresh lemongrass
    3/4 lb boneless chicken chunks
    1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms

    Combine chicken broth and coconut milk in saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in galanga, lemongrass and half the lime leaves. Add chicken and mushrooms and simmer until chicken is cooked--about 10-15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients (except cilantro) in large bowl. When chicken is cooked, pour hot soup into this bowl and stir to combine ingredients. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro to taste and serve.
    #12
    EdSails
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/15 12:47:35 (permalink)
    Went out to the Bangkok Cafe in Long Beach last night for some Tom Kha. Very yummy and nice presentation in the firepot with a flame in the middle.
    #13
    shanklemsw
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/11/16 08:34:56 (permalink)
    I love this soup so much that, not only am I growing lemongrass, I'm also trying galanga. Ginger grows well here. We'll see. I will get a kaffir lime in the spring. In the meantime I use lemon leaves off my lemon tree. YUM is right!

    I was sick once and someone brought me thi soup from a local restaurant. I immeditely felt better. That's when I decided to make it myself.
    #14
    EliseT
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2004/12/06 20:28:05 (permalink)
    I prefer canned straw mushrooms to fresh "white" mushrooms in this soup. But you have to rinse them well because they are sometimes gritty.

    Even the best Thai markets in Thai town often don't carry the kaffir lime leaves, so I have always left them out.
    #15
    kimi
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2005/02/22 19:30:28 (permalink)
    hi everyone, this is actually my first post, but im a college student and love to cook. My family sent me some of this oriental product called "VV foods" its a base broth. I actually order the product online now. I dont think the Tom Yum Soup is on the site yet, but they have it you just have to ask. They also carry a long line of other types of broth for "pho" chicken and beef. I love this stuff. Its helped me so much as a college student who hates fast food. I think its in most asain/Vietnamese supermarkets. You all should try it.
    #16
    kimi
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2005/02/22 19:33:23 (permalink)
    oh im sorry i forgot to mention that for everyone whose never made asain soup, youll love this one its really easy and all the ingredients including lemon grass is already in there.
    #17
    BT
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2005/02/23 00:44:33 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Peachpie9

    Hello BT,

    I didn't know this thread existed. Thanks, Kimi, for resurrecting it. Your broth sounds yummy.

    Tom Kha Gai is the best soup on the planet in my opinion. I love the blend of flavors. I haven't tried making it, but will this summer with the new books and resources I have gotten from this great site.

    Elise, I like the straw 'shrooms best, too, and am disappointed if the Tom Kha arrives with buttons. I had some in Seattle recently that had a different kind of mushrooms, bigger than straws, but with smaller heads than even small buttons. They were kinda tan with brown tips. They were added whole to the soup (head and stem, which was very thin), and had the tender rubberiness of straws. I liked them, but my dining partner refused to acknowledge that Tom Kha can be made with other than straw mushrooms. I said I would eat his share of the soup then, but he managed to suffer through it. Heh

    Catherine

    P.S. The chicken pieces in Tom Kha Gai always seem dry, tasteless and a little tough to me. Has anyone had good luck making the soup with more tender chicken? Is it a flavor thing? I know tougher chicken is supposed to have more flavor.


    I don't recall seeing other than straw mushrooms and I think I would be surprised if I did. The chicken is usually thigh meat and I haven't experienced it being tough. Most Asian cooks (including Indian) seem to prefer thighs because they are more flavorful (and cheaper) than breasts and more meaty than other parts. In San Francisco, fresh-killed (or even live) poultry is readily available in Asian markets, but I don't know if many restaurants use it. I'd bet they get their chicken at CostCo (I see lots of Asians in there buying restaurant quantities of food products).
    #18
    carlton pierre
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2005/02/26 20:09:04 (permalink)
    I bought some stalks of lemongrass yesterday at Jungle Jim's. Tomorrow I am going to make a type of lemongrass soup. probably will be my own rendition.
    #19
    mar52
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2005/05/04 02:09:02 (permalink)
    If you can purchase fresh lemon grass, root one of the stalks in water. Then plant it and it multiplies quite nicely.

    Sometimes the leaves on mine fold in the middle and I don't know if it's from too much water or too little water.

    If you use it in soups, kind of crush it to bring out the flavor.

    Citronella is made from lemon grass, I've been told.
    #20
    cjrudi
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2005/10/02 01:05:21 (permalink)
    TheBEST Tom Yum Gai I have EVER had has been at Lanna Thai Restaurant on E. 51st Street near Harvard Ave. in Tulsa, OK. (I know this topic is Tom Kha Gai, but Tom Yum has also been mentioned in here and it's what I was searching for when I found this page.) I have had Tom Yum Gai in Tulsa a couple of places, in Houston a couple of places and in Vancouver. I have to go back to Lanna Thai every time I'm in Tulsa at least once per visit and sometimes more.
    #21
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2005/10/02 11:47:59 (permalink)
    Ahh, two of my favorite soups. I'd like to point out that fresh kaffir lime leaves freeze well in a ziplock bag; much better than the dried variety. I also keep my galanga loose in my freezer along with my fresh lemongrass. Fresh ginger is a substitute but galanga makes a much better soup. My local Mexican grocery store always has fresh lemongrass for sale in the produce section. Now does anyone have a recipe for Vietnamese lemongrass pork?
    #22
    cjrudi
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2005/12/27 02:38:40 (permalink)
    Thanks, MilwFoodlovers, for the tip on where to find the lemon grass. I've heard that the HEB Central Market and maybe Whole Foods has lemon grass. I hadn't thought about going to the local Mexican market. There are several very near me. Thanks for the tips. :)

    Here's the recipe you asked for: I haven't cooked it yet though.

    Vietnamese Lemon Grass Baked Chicken
    RecipeView.com
    Yield: 4 Servings Preparation Time:


    ------- WALDINE VAN GEFFEN VGHCA 2 Tbl Canola oil
    -------- 1 Tbl Fish sauce
    1 Chicken (or favorite parts) 2 Cl Garlic, mince
    -skin 1 Tsp Sugar
    2 Stalks lemon grass, bottom 2 Unripe green bananas, quarter
    -6' only, slice diagonoally 4 Slice Fresh pineapple, halve
    1/2 Cup Low-sod soy sauce

    Mix lemon grass, soy sauce, oil, fish sauce, garlic and sugar. Pour over
    chicken, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight. In baking
    dish, arrange chicken, undrained, in single layer. Add banana and
    pineapple; pour remaining marinade over all. Cover and bake 350 about 30
    minutes. Remove cover and turn chicken. Return to oven and bake, uncovered,
    about 30 minutes more. Serve over rice. 478 Cal, 20 gr fat, 37% fat.

    From Gemini's MASSIVE MealMaster collection at www.synapse.com/gemini






    Back to the index
    2865
    http://www.RecipeView.com

    quote:
    Originally posted by MilwFoodlovers

    Ahh, two of my favorite soups. I'd like to point out that fresh kaffir lime leaves freeze well in a ziplock bag; much better than the dried variety. I also keep my galanga loose in my freezer along with my fresh lemongrass. Fresh ginger is a substitute but galanga makes a much better soup. My local Mexican grocery store always has fresh lemongrass for sale in the produce section. Now does anyone have a recipe for Vietnamese lemongrass pork?
    #23
    berndog
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    RE: Tom Kha Gai 2006/01/03 00:18:20 (permalink)
    I forgot about this thread and just found it again. Carlton, I found some interesting Thai spices in the international food section at Wegmans, including a jar of Tom Yum flavoring. The brand is Tiger Tiger Tom Yam paste, and it contains lemon grass, chili, galanga, and kaffir lime leaves. Just start with a can of chicken stock, add your meat and veggies, and about a tablespoon of this paste per bowl and you get a very authentic tasting Tom Yum soup.

    I even made some pho with rice noodles over the past weeks vacation and added this and it was delicious.
    #24
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