Califonia Bountiful
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Thai chicken soup with coconut milk and galangal

Thai chicken soup with coconut milk and galangal


1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced lemongrass, tender white part only
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground chile paste, or to taste
1-inch knob galangal, thinly sliced and bruised with a back of a knife
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup straw mushrooms, or white mushrooms
1/2 cup cubed ripe tomato
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 kaffir lime leaves, halved, or 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
6 cilantro sprigs, chopped for garnish


Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat until moderately hot. Add the shallot, garlic, lemongrass, pepper flakes and chile paste; cook for about 30 seconds, or until lightly brown.

Working quickly and without burning the spices, add the galangal, chicken broth, fish sauce, sugar and coconut milk. Bring to a boil; add the chicken, mushrooms and tomato. When it comes to a boil again, turn off the heat and add the lime juice and lime leaves.

Serve immediately, garnished with the cilantro.

Serves 6
*The secret of this soup is the galangal, or Thai ginger, available fresh or frozen at Asian grocery stores. For the best flavor, give it a few whacks with a knife before adding it to the broth.