Dinner Tonight: Tom Kha Gai
After the success of the Pad See-Ew recipe from the food blog She Simmers, it took me about 30 seconds of searching on the site to find this recipe for Tom Kha Gai, which is referred to as "one of the most loved Thai dishes of all time."
Though it initially looks bland and white, this lively Thai soup actually features heaps of chiles, lemongrass, lime leaves, and a fragrant root called galangal. The hardest part for most people may simply be locating the last two ingredients, though I was lucky to run into both at Whole Foods. Luckily, after the search, everything else is easy.
Thanks to a mixture of chicken stock and coconut milk, it's also not too heavy. But this isn't just any old chicken stock, it's stock that has been reduced in half, which means that each bite is even more luscious. Add coconut milk to that and you have a soup that body and depth, but without being overly fatty and creamy. (Of course, if you don't have good homemade stock, don't try to reduce the canned stuff. Just proceed with the recipe with only 12 ounces.)
A couple of tricks will help get this done quickly. First, the recipe calls for cooking the ingredients in the soup at a specific temperature. A thermometer will make this all much easier. Second, no amounts are given for lime juice or fish sauce, as the recipe claims you're just supposed to keep adding both until it tastes right. I'd err on the side of less, as the soup is already incredibly flavorful.