Spicy 'Coconut Chicken', Thai Hash Soup (aka Tom Kar soup)
I am a huge fan of soup in all shapes and form, and this is one of my favorites.. it is an acquired taste though, I don't know many people who enjoy it, so if you've never had anything like it before, try at your own risk (or make a canna-free version first to reduce your losses, if you dislike the taste). I've been enjoying it for only a few years myself. Moving around so much from one end of the globe to the other, has removed me from some of my favorite restaurants, and so like many dishes I've found and lost along the way, I had to begin making my own.
I remember the first time I ordered it. Delivery-thai in a big city is usually pretty good. I had a spoon or two, and thought "blechhh, wow, this is really, really odd"... but by the end of the night, I was sipping a little more, and a little more... and a little more. And finally, it grew on me. I was ordering it a few times a month, sometimes a few bowls at a time, so I could freeze it and have it later.
It's an odd flavor adjustment for someone born and raised on bacon, steak and potatoes, but given the chance to calibrate your taste buds, and there's a good chance you'll enjoy it Smilie
You will need:
- 2 tsp coconut hash oil
- 1 tsp lecithin
- 1 can coconut milk (10-12oz)
- 1 can coconut cream (if you can only find one or the other, just use two of the same)
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat, and cubed or cut into bite-sized strips
(optional, flatten cubes into thin, and roughly circular shapes, with a kitchen mallet)
- 2 cups vegetable stock/bullion (chicken stock can also be used)
- 2 stalks of lemon grass, sans the woody stalks, chopped (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2-3 red/serrano chilies
- ½ tsp chili oil
- 1 tsp sugar or golden syrup
- 1 ½ tsp galangal slices/paste (you can use ginger as an alternative; if dried, use less)
- 1/4 cup cilantro- chopped, mostly stems
- 1/4 cup soft fresh tofu - cubed (optional)
- 3-4 diced, straw or button mushrooms, or any variety you like..
(I don't use them, but it's often served this way.)
Gently pan-cook your chicken over a medium-low heat with sesame (or any cooking) oil, dry-seasoned before cooking only with salt, pepper (and ginger, if powdered).
Add your vegetable stock, galangal (or ginger), sugar, and lemon grass to a large soup pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
In a separate pot, add your hash oil, lecithin (which you will use, even if your hash oil was made using lecithin) and the two cans coconut milk/cream. Whisk over a low heat for several minutes. The heat, whisking, and lecithin, will incorporate and homogenize your hash oil dispersing it evenly through the coconut milk and cream.. using coconut hash oil, rather than another oil source, also helps this incorporation. The red oil you see floating near the edges in the final photo, is chili oil, if you don't use it, you won't see it..you don't want that blended in too well, because it's the contrast between spicy and creamy, that makes it so tasty. The coconut oil and hash, remains blended with the coconut milk.
Add your hashed coconut milk/cream, and chilies to the stock, and simmer for an additional five minutes. Finally, add all your additional veggies (sugar snap peas, baby corn, water chestnuts, broccoli... any or all of these, make good additions), and cook until they are soft, or the consistency you desire.
Turn off heat, add lime juice, coriander/cilantro, stir, and allow to sit for up to a half hour. When ready to serve, turn heat on low for a few minutes; the soup is better served when warm, not piping hot.
This is what it should look like, when you're just about ready to serve:
I find it tastes best, around 48 hours after it was made... but there's no reason you can't dive right in