Quinoa Asparagus Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Milk Soup)
Tom Kha Gai means "soup coconut chicken" in Thai. This boasts traditional Thai flavors, but with lots of vegetables rather than mushrooms. If you like mushrooms, add them in! I've found asparagus, cabbage, and green beans are really good in this soup. If you don't use the bouillon I recommend, or sub a vegetable broth, you will probably need to add a bit more sea salt to make up for the flavor. Feel free to use fish sauce to flavor as well, although I prefer not to. If possible, make this soup the day before serving. We enjoy it on the first day, but all the flavors really develop after it sits a while.
1/2cupginger(or galangal) root, peeled and very finely sliced
1/2cupThai shallots(or other), roughly sliced or diced
3stalkslemongrass(cut in 1 inch sections)
5cupswater+ 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable bouillon (I use Rapunzel)
or substitute 5 cups vegetable bouillon
2chicken breastvery thinly sliced
1large carrot(thinly sliced)
1cup baby corn(sliced into smaller pieces)
2cupsasparagus(cut into 1 inch pieces)
2cupscoconut milk(canned, full fat -- roughly 1 15-ounce can)
4kaffir lime leavestorn
1-2red Thai chilisthinly sliced
2teaspoonssriracha(mildly spicy -- or less, for less spicy soup)
sea salt(to taste)
lime wedgesto garnish
1cupquinoacooked to package directions
After peeling, very thinly slice the ginger. This helps the flavor come out, and also allows the ginger to become soft so it can be eaten along with the soup. The shallots need peeled, and can be roughly sliced or diced. To prepare the lemongrass, cut it into 1 inch sections, and "smash" it with the side of a knife to start releasing the oils.
Add ginger, lemongrass, and shallots to a large soup pot along with sesame oil. Saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes to start releasing the flavors.
Add water and vegetable bouillon. Gently boil (medium to medium high) for about 20 minutes. Do not replace water that is lost. Wait until the soup is finished, and then decide if it needs more water.
Add the thinly sliced chicken breast, and allow it to begin poaching in the broth.
Next, add carrots, baby corn, asparagus, red chilis, torn kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, and sriracha.
At this point, taste the broth. If it seems too rich, add water ½ cup at a time. If it needs more flavor, add sea salt or extra bouillon. A squeeze of lime adds more flavor as well.
The chicken won't have a lot of flavor right after the soup is cooked. It will soak in the flavors of the ginger, lemongrass, and coconut milk as it sits. If you can make this soup early in the day, or even the day before, it tastes the best. We usually don't wait that long, but really look forward to eating the leftovers the next day knowing how much more flavorful it will be!
Garnish with extra lime wedges and cilantro, and extra sriracha, if needed.
Serve with quinoa to add to bowls.
For Paleo option, leave out quinoa. For vegan option, substitute tofu for chicken, or simply leave the chicken out and serve with extra quinoa.