Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Ka Kai)
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 6 thin slices of galangal root, lightly crushed
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, lower ½ only, trimmed into 1 inch pieces, slightly crushed
  • 5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn in half
  • 1 whole chicken breast, boned, skinned and sliced into bite size pieces
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon, red curry paste
  • 2 green Thai chilies, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  1. Combine one can of coconut milk, with the galangal, lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Add chicken, fish sauce, and sugar and cook (stirring occasionally) until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the other can of coconut milk, curry paste and heat until boiling. Remove from heat, and add lime juice and chilies a little at a time, tasting it as you go. You don’t want it too spicy or too sour. Adjust seasoning, adding more sugar or fish sauce, to get that perfect balance of salt, sweet, hot and sour. You can heat this before serving and plate it individually or in a tureen or soup pot. Garnish with the cilantro leaves just before serving. I sometimes add mushrooms along with the chicken. You will need to let your guest know that they can’t eat the lemon grass, galangal or lime leaves; they are only there for flavor and are not really edible.
Recipe by Have You Eaten, SF? at