By Rodney B. on March 20, 2004
Photo by ATM 67
Photo by ATM 67
"If you like soups as a main dish, this is a great one... hearty and filling. For a more traditional Tom Kha Gai, leave out the bok choy, tomatoes, and bean thread noodles, and add some extra mushrooms. But believe me, this soup is incredible as written. I can never find the galagnal traditionally used in Tom Kha Gai, but if you can get it, I say use some."
Serving Size: 1 (300 g)
Servings Per Recipe: 8
"Spectacularly delicious! Thank you so much for this inspiring recipe. This is one of my all-time favorite foods and this recipe is a very good one that is simple to make, and a great starting point for a bazillion modifications based on preference or convenience. There should be a rare category on this site for extra-special recipes that once tried, you can never be without, and this one would unquestionably be on my list! As a Texas-based gringo, while I love this soup, without a recipe like this, I would not know where to start. This recipe solves that problem and makes me feel like I have a upper hand on many restaurateurs - even though all I really have is this excellent recipe and a little common sense. But maybe that's all I need.<br/> I never write reviews anywhere, but I am doing so here because I feel like I have something very useful to add. First of all, this soup is as easy to make as anything you will ever cook - so relax even if this is unfamiliar to you and try it. The second great and reassuring feature is that, like many soups, you can substitute liberally with fantastic results. The main favors here are very assertive ones: vinegar, lime, hot chili peppers, lemongrass, fish sauce, cilantro. You will have a hard time overpowering these favors. So I like to include healthy ingredients and leftovers before they go bad - always with excellent results. I also frequently make major substitutions, not because they are better, but because it is what I have on hand or because it is easier - and the result is always delicious. Examples: 1) Sambol Olek or any similar chili garlic sauce instead of the serranos and garlic (nice time saver that I think is easier to titrate in terms of the spiciness, & this is from someone who loves to cook with fresh garlic!), 2) galangal if you don't have ginger or just for fun, 3) rice wine vinegar instead of plain old white vinegar (makes me feel like it is a little more authentic, even if it is nothing more than my silly feeling), 4) I like to add more interesting mushrooms than just white ones (usually a variety of what I can find fresh), 5) I also like to add little cubes of tofu (semi-firm) even though I only buy it when planning an Asian dish that includes it (nice nutritional element and one more texture with very little discernible flavor in this boldly flavored soup), 6) the chicken or any other meat is optional, 7) shrimp paste is optional and I got some small dried shrimp in the refrigerated section of an Asian grocery and I grind it in a mortar & pestle, though again I do so to feel like a better cook than I actually am, and this is probably not really needed, 8) coconut milk can be low-fat, regular, or cracked right out of a coconut, 9) soy sauce doesn't have to be low-sodium though that's certainly better for you, 10) chicken broth can be anything you find including bullion cubes or powder of the appropriate volume, and finally, 11) bean threads are optional or you can use another type of Asian noodle like ribbons of rice noodles. So, basically you can see that my philosophy is to have fun with it using the basic proportions of the major ingredients and using what I have on hand to enrich it like you would probably do with most soups. There are a few things I would not omit. I would seriously recommend zesting and juicing the limes - the effort is well worth it! I would also strongly suggest using cilantro without substitution. If someone in your group really dislikes it, I would separate out their portion before adding cilantro to the rest. Hopefully someone out there finds this helpful. If you try this, I think you are in for a special treat. I look forward to your feedback once you actually try this wonderful gift of a recipe."
"Excellent soup! Tastes almost exactly like the soup we order from a Thai place at work. I didn't add the chicken or the serrano peppers because I didn't have them and I added a large can of bamboo shoots. And, I substituted evaporated cane sugar juice for the brown sugar because I was lazy and didn't feel like looking for my brown sugar. Anyway, the soup is excellent even without items I left out and the substitution. Thanks for the recipe!"
"Yum yum yum!!!"
"I served this as part of a Thai dinner and everyone loved it, even the guy who always complains that my food is too spicy. He was also amazed that he didn't notice the flavor of the coconut milk, as he does not like it. We did not feel the need to add any lime juice at the end, but we used pretty big and very juicy limes for zesting and juicing. I loved the fact that I didn't have to pick the cilantro leaves from the stems, a duty I truly hate. This soup rocked!!!"
"Amazing soup!! This was a complete hit, and we will definitely be making this again."
"This was a great recipe. I think that ours came out better than one that we get at our favorite Thai restaurant."
"I second that PIPICARTER! YUM YUM YUM! This was WAY better than the local Thai restaurants! Absolutely incredible! I prepared as written, and added bok choy, noodles, and the tomato. Yummy!!! A little learning experience for me though, I did not know that the lemon grass would not get tender, there for non edible. LOL Same with the galagnal, both were hard in the end result, but we just simply picked them out of my bowl as we ate. I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers this week!!"
"This is just as good, if not better, as the local Thai restaurant in town. I never have liked fish sauce so eliminate that and replace it with oyster sauce. Additionally, I do not use bok choy. I also add a tsp. of sesame oil, a 1/2 tbl. of regular sugar, a tbl. of red curry paste, a good portion of torn basil leaves and a chicken bouillon cube. This is absolutely delish! I'd even go so far as to say TO DIE FOR! LOVE!"
"I've made this several times now and it never fails to get raves. To make a real meal out of it you can serve it over rice instead of with the noodles."
"I left out the shrimp paste and used equal parts coconut milk and chicken broth. And just used the 'shrooms. The only problem was that I decided to halve the recipe, and the two of us finished it so quickly we pined for more. SO good. We did need more food afterwards, not sure if you can say it's a complete meeal. Close, though."
"This is just like it tastes in great Thai restaurants. My whole family raved about it. I followed the recipe to a tee for the more traditional thom kha gai. Nice specific directions! Wonderful!!"
"This was fabulous.I served satay chicken with it. I didn't put any extra lime in it. This is as good as what you buy in a thai restaurant. "