Tom Kha is my great discovery from years ago, my favorite Thai soup, slightly sour, a bit spicy – which warms me up in winter, saves me after a party, stimulates me in spring, improves my mood in autumn, and I cannot deny myself this pleasure in summer. This coconut soup is incredibly aromatic but also creamy thanks to coconut milk. As it is becoming easier and easier to buy products from distant places, we can easily prepare tom kha at home, at the same time not expose ourselves to large expenses. If we have larger funds, we can even invest in fresh products to create a soup from scratch.
Fabulous Tom Kha soup
I will try to describe both ways, but whether you use a ready-made paste or decide on individual ingredients – like for broth – slowly cook from scratch, this soup is prepared easily and quickly, lovely aroma spreads around the house. Wary of pastes that are available in every supermarket for years, be careful they can be incredibly salty – if one wants the soup to be aromatic have to add more paste, our tom kha will be impossible to eat (the same goes for green and red curry pastes).
This year I brought with me from Thailand dried galangal, kaffir leaves and lemongrass – only the last one did not work out. Of course, you can also decide on the already available frozen vegetables that are the basis of tom kha soup, tightly closed in a bag – we will also make Tom Yum soup from them. And the aroma that comes out of the thawed mixture after opening the bag cannot be compared with anything else, incredible.
I buy tom kha paste in an Asian store in my city, you can easily find one without palm oil in the composition and without unnecessary chemicals. Kanokwan paste is easier to find but contains palm oil, the producer assured me that it comes from sustainable Thai palm oil plantations – as it really is, I don’t know. I add the mash to the soup slowly, checking if it tastes the way I would like – although tom kha is theoretically not hot, be careful with the amount you add to the water.
Our hotness and Thai hotness are different things. Remember, however, that coconut milk will soften the taste and spice of the soup. I know that tom kha in Thailand is cooked from the beginning with coconut milk (because of chicken, for example), I add it at the end. Choose for yourself, after the tests, what suits you better.
Ingredients Tom Kha
- 3 chili peppers
- 4 slices of galangal root
- 2 lemongrass (3 teaspoons of ground one from the jar – I like it when there is a lot of it))
or instead of them, a paste of tom kha soup, or mix them one with other
- 7 kaffir leaves (for the aroma, bend them in half and remove the stalk dividing the leaf)
- 2 tablespoons of juice or half a sliced lime
- the so-called Asian mix with mun mushrooms (I use half of the frozen package)
- 5 straw mushrooms, cut in half (I skip this point often)
- 400 ml can of coconut milk (if you don’t like creamy soups, use less)
- 1-2 teaspoons of white sugar
- boat cut tomato (I like to add cocktail cut in half)
- 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce – vegetarians and vegans soy sauce
- 5 sprigs of cilantro
You can also add to the soup:
- diced tofu or shrimp or chicken
- rice noodles
The recipe for a pot in which I put 2.4 liters of water, leaving a little space at the top.
tofu – Tom Kha Tofu | shrimps – Tom Kha Goong | chicken – Tom Kha Gai
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Preparation of soup
Boil the water and add the paste or slowly boil the water with pieces of galangal root, kaffir leaves, chilli peppers and – previously cut in half with a knife pressed against the board – lemongrass, which will release more flavor. After boiling the water, add soy or fish sauce, sugar, tofu (shrimp or chicken), mushrooms and coconut milk, cook for about 3 minutes (or longer if with meat).
Then add vegetables from the Chinese mix, when they boil, try to check if the soup has lost its strong aroma after adding coconut milk and season it if necessary. Take the tom kha off the gas, add the lime juice, pour the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro. I like to prepare noodles separately in water or other soup, because if left in a pot, it will get watered down and stuck together.