There are some things in life that you just can’t avoid. You will encounter them, it will smack you right in the chops and punch you in the kidneys. In a good way. In an all-encompassing, explosion of flavour in your mouth kind of way. This is what happened to me last Summer in Vienna. I know, Vienna? Random place to have Tom Kha Gai for the first time, but you know, I was completely and utterly captivated.
It took me until November last year to finally get round to making this, and since then it has honestly become a staple in my humble little food-calendar. It’s one of these foods that suit both Winter and Summer so well, Winter because of the big fire from the chillis (which you can choose to leave out if that’s not your sorta thing), and Summer because of the light coconut broth, the aromatics from ginger and galangal and the wonderful lime-ey twang. You really can’t beat it on a sunny afternoon. So let’s get down and dirty.
Tom Kha Gai
1 large Chicken breast/2 Chicken thighs – cooked.
3 cloves garlic – crushed.
2 shallots – peeled and finely chopped.
1″ piece of fresh ginger – peeled and grated.
2 tsp crushed galangal.
2 small chillis – finely chopped.
2 lemongrass stalks – outer leaves removed and chopped into thirds.
300ml good quality chicken or fish stock.
1 can of coconut milk.
1/2 tblsp fish sauce.
A small handful of cooked tiger prawns.
5 Kaffir lime leaves.
1 lime – juiced, saving a little bit to squeeze over for serving.
Whatever vegetables you happen to have lying around (broccoli, asparagus, pak choi, something green and light goes very nicely)
– Lightly fry the shallots, garlic, galangal, chillis and ginger in a medium saucepan with splash of olive oil until they’re smelling delicious (around a minute or two).
– Add everything except the prawns into the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, adding in the tiger prawns for the last 2 or 3 minutes, just enough to heat them through.
– Serve with white or brown basmati rice, a little squeeze of lime, fresh coriander and a massive grin.