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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Thai soup and other things

Finally, a new post!

To catch you up:

I've been working hard on my new jewelry line, Whisperwill. Here's my Esty shop! It's taking alot of my time, so that's a big reason why I've had a bit of a hiatus. We also shot the last two film reels for Jesus Fish, our short film. Hurray! Finally, I've learned that I love movies made in or around the 1960's. Some of my favorites we've watched recently: Raging Bull, Spartacus, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Cinema was really changing in this era. It's incredible to see such a shift in an artform I love!

Today, I'm going to post a recipe for a delicious Thai soup! I happen to be enjoying the leftovers right now as I watch (Ahem... the Bachelorette) on Hulu. (Colton judges me for my soft spot for reality shows.)

This recipe is for a coconut milk based soup that Thai restaurants often serve as an appetizer - I adapted the recipe from a Tom Kha Gai tutorial by the lovely Leela at Shesimmers. If you have access to all the ingredients she lists, you should make hers! It's more authentic, and probably tastes a bit better. However, I couldn't find everything, and so I made a few changes, while trying to remain as close to her recipe as possible. That's why I'm calling this "Thai soup" instead of "Tom Kha Gai" - Gai means chicken, but I decided to use shrimp. Tom is Galangal, a root herb. I'm using ginger instead. So really, the only word in the title that applies is Tom - cooked. And that's just not very descriptive.


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Ingredients for 3-4 servings:

24 fluid oz chicken broth    *I used 32 oz, because that's how much was in my carton. It worked fine!
8-12 fresh shrimp               *You can add more! I use 4 shrimp per person I want to feed. Also, Leela uses chicken.
12 oz mushrooms, sliced thinly (I use Cremini. White is fine, but I wouldn't recommend Shitake.)
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped into 1 inch pieces then smashed with the side of your knife   *I was able to find fresh lemongrass at Ralph's. If you are not able to find it, check an Asian market. It is essential to the dish!
Zest of 1 lime
1 inch ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 can good coconut milk
A few red chilies (or any other small spicy chiles)
Fresh cilantro, for garnish
Fresh lime juice
Fish sauce (this is easy to find in the foreign foods aisle in the supermarket!)

Begin by bringing your chicken broth to a boil and reducing it by about half. (This makes the broth much more flavorful without having to add such traditional things as chicken feet. Blech!)

Lower the heat to slighty below a simmer and add the smashed lemongrass, lime zest, and ginger root. Allow to infuse for about 10-15 minutes.

*After this infusion time, if you don't want to pick around the herbs later, strain them out. I leave them in, because I think they make it prettier.

Add the mushroom and shrimp, allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is done.

Pierce the peppers with the knife, give them a quick smash (like the lemongrass), and toss them into the soup right before serving.

Ladle into bowls, and flavor to taste with lime juice and fish sauce. *** This is essential!!!! This is where alot of the flavor comes from.

For each bowl, I use about 1/4 lime worth of juice, and maybe 3-4 good shots of fish sauce.

Top each bowl with a little fresh cilantro.


I like to serve this as an appetizer for Pad Thai, but it can also be served as a main course with Jasmine rice.


  1. oh thai food. so tasty! I love the look of this soup; thanks for passing it along.

  2. How funny-- I've heard now from four different friends all having had Tom Kha Gai in the last two weeks (for the first time). I've been meaning to make it and try it out, and now I have no excuse not to!

  3. Do not be fooled by the picture of this Thai soup. Yes, it looks simple and delicate, but the actual flavor is fiery hot. Adding a little color would probably make it more delightful and presentable. If you want to, you can add a teaspoon of curry instead of red hot chilies; this should provide the spiciness and the pleasing color to it.

    Joey Mcbride