‘Tom Kha’, Coconut & Galangal Soup
Dish out into bowls, giving each one a good squeeze of fresh lime juice and topping with half the Thai basil
This is one of my all-time favourite soups and an absolute classic. In Thailand, it is eaten more in the style of a curry, with ladles of the soup over jasmine rice shared among family and friends. This tasty version is created for simplicity; however, as with most Thai dishes, the possibilities are endless if you want to take it to the next level. Galangal is a South Asian spice similar to ginger. Traditionally, poached chicken or prawns are added, nam phrik pao (chilli jam) adds a smokiness and spiciness to the soup, or the delicate umami flavour from mushrooms is also a winner.
Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free (use seaweed sauce or gluten-free soy sauce)
300ml vegetable stock
300ml coconut cream
2-3 tbsp light soy sauce
40g-50g piece of galangal, bruised using a pestle and mortar
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed, chopped into 4cm pieces and bruised
juice of ½ lime
big pinch of Thai basil leaves
- Put the vegetable stock, 100ml of the coconut cream, 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce (add the remainder later, if you feel it needs it), a pinch of sea salt, the galangal, 2 red or green bird’s eye chillies (bruised using a pestle and mortar) and the lemongrass in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently for 4-5 minutes until all the ingredients have softened and the flavours have been infused.
- Finish by stirring in the remaining coconut cream. Dish out into bowls, giving each one a good squeeze of fresh lime juice and topping with half the Thai basil before serving. Lastly, check the seasoning – it should be creamy, salty, a little spicy and aromatic with a sour edge from the lime, so adjust to suit your taste, if necessary. For added freshness, top with some Thai basil flowers, if you like.