I always loved to try new meals and ingredients when possible. But it wasn’t so easy at all the times. Just so you know, I am from a small Czech town with 7000 residents, where the new is not accepted so easily sometimes. Just for example, apart from Czech restaurants, we have one Chinese restaurant and few pizza places in my hometown. And that’s as far as the curiosity of new things can get. I believe that these days it might be better and the young people are more open to the new flavours. But it will probably still take some time before the food mentality changes here.
But luckily for me, my parents are not like the majority. They always enjoyed trying new things, looking for new recipes and most importantly they travelled quite a fair bit. And they took us with them for all the amazing holidays around Europe, where we experienced so many unknown tastes and smells. And as I grew and started cooking myself (and also going to restaurants by myself), the desire for new food I developed as a child grew even bigger. I wouldn’t mind to travel somewhere just to try a new dish. Or to get a better produce. Even if it was just to a bigger city within our country. Or actually to Italy to try a real pasta.
However, because of this passion of mine, I couldn’t wait to go for our trip to Thailand. Of course I was excited about the beauty of the country and the new places I will see. But don’t you agree that the beauty of a country lies in it’s cuisine too? For me it certainly makes sense. I think half of the pleasure from travelling in my case actually comes from trying the new foods.
Anyway, as I said, it was not always easy to try new things. So I had to wait to age 22 before even coming across real Thai cuisine, that time in Canada. And oh, how much I loved it. So I swore to myself that I will just have to visit the country one day.
And I finally did this year, travelling through with my hubby for a month, trying all the meals I possibly could. And learning how to make them properly too, so I could enjoy the Thai cuisine even in the comfort of my (new) home. Like one of my favourites (well, which one isn’t) – the Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk). But because I’m all about the healthy options as you probably noticed, I adapted the delicious! original recipe from Siam Rice Cookery School in Chiang Mai, adding more vegetables and making few little adjustments, making the soup Paleo and Whole30 friendly. And I hope you will enjoy it.
- 2 tbsp coconut oil for cooking
- 800 g chicken breast, cut into cubes
- 1,5l chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 2 handfuls sliced galangal (3-4 thumb size pieces, no need to peel it)
- 1 handful ginger (2 thumb size pieces, no need to peel it)
- 1 handful ruffly chopped lemongrass
- 12 fresh kafir limes
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp shrimp paste (or 2 tbsp fish sauce without sugar)
- Chilli, sliced - I used a lot, very spicy, but you can add only a little bit
- 1 eggplant, cut into small cubes
- 2 tomatoes, cut into cubes
- 3 handfuls oyster mushrooms, sliced
- Juice of 1 lime
- 2 handfuls Thai basil, chopped
- 2 handfuls coriander, chopped
- 3 handfuls snow peas, cut in smaller pieces (optional)
- 3 handfuls bean sprouts (optional)
- 2 scallions, chopped (optional)
- Cilantro and fresh Thai basil for garnish
- Pour the chicken stock in a pot, place it on the stove over a high heat and bring it to boil.
- Once the chicken stock is boiling, add the galangal, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime, crushed garlic, shrimp paste and a pinch of salt and pepper, lower the heat and simmer the soup for ½ hour. If you wanna get more flavour from the kaffir lime leaves, the trick is to fold them in half and tear them apart instead of adding them whole in the stock.
- In the meanwhile place a bigger pot over a high heat, add the coconut oil in it and let it melt. Once it's melted, add the chicken and fry until it looses the pink colour. Then add the onion, mushrooms, eggplant, pinch of salt and pepper and chilli and sauté for 2 more minutes.
- Pour the stock through a strainer in the pot with your chicken and vegetables. Lower the heat and add the pour the coconut milk in.
- Boil for ca 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, lime juice, basil and cilantro, then cook for 2 additional minutes.
- Best topped with the bean sprouts, snow peas, scallions, basil and cilantro. However, you can feel free to leave these out of the game or add even more toppings according to your taste.
If you are a soup lover like me, you should give a try my other soup recipes.