Monday, March 7, 2022

Cooking is Fun... And Easy!! InstantPot Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)


Told you I was going to make some Thai food!  This is conglomeration of several online recipes, but I’m made enough changes to technique and ingredients to call it my own.  Tom Kha Gai (Tom=soup, Kha=Galangal, Gai=Chicken) is one of my favorite Thai foods.  

A word about ingredients--many online recipes substitute ginger for galangal, but in my opinion, the taste is really not the same.  Galangal is more mellow and complex than ginger, I think.  Did you know that you can find galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves on Amazon, as well as the palm sugar and fish sauce?  I was surprised.  You can also find these at Asian groceries.  The coconut milk, red curry paste, and sambal oelek are available in the Asian section of mainstream grocery stores.  


6 inches galangal sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, smashed with a meat mallet

1-1/2 stalks lemongrass tough outer layers removed, cut in 2 inch pieces, smashed with a meat mallet

3 garlic cloves, smashed with a meat mallet

4 cups chicken stock

12 kaffir lime leaves torn

2 stalks green onions green and white parts separated

16 oz. boneless skinless thin sliced chicken breast, cut across the grain into bite sized pieces

2 cans (13.5 oz ea) full-fat coconut milk (do not sub coconut cream, it's not the same)

 Fish sauce to taste (I love Red Boat)**

 Fresh lime juice to taste**

 Palm sugar, grated, to taste**  (you can sub light brown sugar for this)

 2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste

 Sambal Oelek to taste**

 1 and 1/2 cups oyster mushrooms chopped into 1 inch pieces (baby bellas or even white mushrooms work too)

 Cheesecloth, kitchen twine

 1 large ripe tomato, cut into eighths

 1/2 white onion, sliced

Put 2 Tbsp canola oil in the InstantPot and when the oil is shimmering, add galangal, lemongrass, garlic, and white parts of scallions and saute high for 5 minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool.  Add 1 tbsp oil to InstantPot, let it come up temp, and then saute onions and red curry paste on saute high for 5 minutes or until soft.   Pour chicken broth over onions in InstantPot, scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon.  Hit cancel.  When aromatics are cool, tie in a square of cheesecloth with kaffir lime leaves and add aromatics bag to the broth.  Pressure cook on pressure high for 5 minutes, quick release.  Add chicken and tomato and pressure cook on pressure high for 4 minutes.   Quick release.  Remove aromatics bag and discard.  Cancel.  On saute normal, add 2 cans coconut milk and stir in.   

**Season in this order to taste:  Fish Sauce 1 tablespoon at a time, Lime juice 1 tablespoon at a time, palm sugar 1 teaspoon at a time, sambal oelek 1 teaspoon at a time.  What you are trying to achieve here with the seasoning is a balance of salty (fish sauce), sour (lime juice), sweet (palm sugar) and spicy (sambal oelek).  It helps jyou’ve had this dish before, obviously, because you know what you’re shooting for.

Just to give you an idea, here's what I ended up using (I like a little spice, but not crazy).  5 tbsp fish sauce, juice of 4 limes, 4 tsp palm sugar, and 4 tsp sambal oelek.

Once you've got the broth tasting right were you want it, add mushrooms and cook on saute normal for 15 minutes.  

This will keep tightly covered in the fridge for a week.  It will separate into broth and coconut milk parts, which is fine, just stir it up and you're ready for yummy leftovers. 

 Buen Provecho!!

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