Usually I have recipe writer’s block. The harder I try to think of something to make, the more I can’t. It’s those times when I buy random ingredients and get home to my pantry and fridge that inspiration strikes. What the heck?! My local market had wild-caught shrimp on sale, which I couldn’t resist, and when I got home I suddenly thought: tom kha! This is a common Thai soup that is really easy to make but has so many layers of complex flavor. Wha-bam! That’s the flavor hitting your tongue.
The only problem is that I didn’t have lemongrass or Thai chili paste that most of the recipes I looked at called for, so I thought…I’m going to solutionize (yes, that’s a made up word) this scenario. I omitted the lemongrass but doubled the lime juice and used sriracha instead of red chili paste. In 5 minutes – plus the time it took me to peel and devein the shrimp – I had a hot, yummy bowl of tom kha in my hands! It might not be 100% authentic but it is 1) easy, 2) fast and 3) a damn good recreation.
Prep time: 5 min Cook time: 10 min Makes: ~4 cups
Ingredients for Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha)
- 14 ounces (420 ml) can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 cups (475 ml) chicken stock
- 1 pound (500 grams) shrimp or chicken breast
- 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into rounds
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sriracha (or to make homemade, check this out)
- Chopped cilantro for garnish
Directions for Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha)
- Prepare the shrimp by peeling and deveining if not already done prior to purchase. If using chicken, clean the chicken of any connective tissue and cut into small chunks.
- In a pot over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, chicken stock and ginger. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add the shrimp or chicken, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce and sriracha. Simmer until the shrimp (less than 5 min) or the chicken (5-10 minutes) is cooked through.
- Top with fresh chopped cilantro for garnish.
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