Anita is an international food writer who moved here from Hong Kong and writes dining reviews for the Orange County Register and her blog, Diary of a Mad Hungry Woman, AND is also is also the world’s 2nd most prolific Elite Yelper with over 3,500 reviews.
Even though Anita dines out more than your average person, she still cooks at home for her son, Seb – a budding gourmand himself, and her husband. Given her Chinese heritage she often cooks Asian dishes and posts photos on Facebook that prompt an immediate Pavlovian response: drooling, followed by getting in your car to drive to the nearest Asian noodle shop because you don’t cook
Anita swears that most of what she cooks is really easy and shares her Thai Tom Ka Gai soup with us.
Thai Tom Ka Gai
(Coconut Chicken Soup)
This is a quick and easy recipe I have used for years and is very simple to throw together as long as you have the ingredients available. It is easily adjustable in terms of vegetables if you can’t find some of the items. Naturally, using the traditional ingredients will allow for a more authentic taste, but there is no set rule to this.
Thai Tom Ka Gai can easily be enjoyed at home in about 30 minutes and can be prepared ahead of time up to step 4 and refrigerated up to 2 days. When ready to serve, complete steps 5-7 and your soup is ready.
4 cups chicken stock
1 stalk lemongrass
2-3 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
8 oz coconut milk
6 oz chicken meat sliced thinly (you can use white or dark)
1- 8 oz can sliced bamboo shoots
1- 8 oz can straw mushrooms
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 fresh lime
1) Trim lemongrass and remove outer layer. Pound the lemongrass to break the fibers.
2) In a pot, combine chicken stock, coconut milk, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves (if using) bring to a boil. Turn to low and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
3) Rinse bamboo shoots and straw mushrooms with water well — soak for 10 minutes if needed to remove the pungent aroma of bamboo shoots and set aside.
4) Thinly slice chicken into bite size pieces, toss with 1 Tbsp fish sauce if and set aside.
5) Add bamboo shoots, straw mushrooms, turn heat up high and bring back to a boil.
6) When liquid is boiling rapidly, add chicken and stir quickly to separate. Once it returns to a rapid boil, turn to low, taste and add more fish sauce if needed to taste.
7) Turn off heat, add the juice of 1/2-1 lime to taste.