Friday, January 8, 2016

Tom kha gai ( Thai coconut soup)

Fresh crunchy veggies,  wrapped in a blanket of silky coconut broth, this soup will leave you wanting for more. 
vegetarian version

Tom kha gai ( Thai coconut soup), soup, Asian, Thai, recipe

It's already been a week in 2016...I can't believe it, I have barely recovered from the holidays and still holding on to the Christmas tree. Well almost, I just packed it up this morning.

Have you guys made any resolutions? Well my week went pretty well without resolutions, am just trying to be more disciplined ( that encompasses a lot) - encouraging myself not to multi task, being mindful of what I am doing. Mindful is much in vogue ....mindful eating, mindful existence, mindful exercise ....have been reading a lot about 'being mindful' for the last few years. Even though I have had an overdose of it on social media...what really triggered the thought was my absent mindedness and my inability to answer the basic question, "what did I do today?" Multitasking not only kills the joy of doing, there is some lapse in quality too. Well, am taking baby steps ...even now as I write this post I have three more tabs open... and I have switched a couple of times to the other tabs while writing I made the effort to close it and do what I am doing.

All the 'mindful' stuff social media fed me in the last few years, is somehow making sense. Mindful is not really in vogue, it's a silent revolution and a necessity.  We are facing an epidemic of people who are distracted, overworked, over connected and leading to distractions and a lack of satisfaction... If not for anything else, it's good for our brain-health. The statistics of brain related aliment is alarming and scary.

I am liking this change and hopefully get addicted to it. It's contra intuitive, but I get to accomplish more when I am not multi tasking. I'll do anything to utilize and challenge my creative potential, that really is my motivation.


Soups are always a favorite meal. Healthy, easy and filling. I survived on this soup when I was expecting my teen...I still love it and can have a bucket full. (No,  I am not pregnant).  It's just so fresh and delicious. Super easy too, like most of the recipes here (read lazy blogger). Photographing it was a joy.... enjoyed it, the dark cloudy afternoon light, added to the cozy look...slurping it after the photo shoot was even more joyful.

That book there in this image is really old...1953. 'The principal Upanisads' - by S. Radhakrishnan. It was my father's favorite book and he had read it multiple times, the margins have notes penned by him. I treasure it as one of my most valued possessions. People leave us but their favorite things stay with outlives them and even us.

1 can coconut milk
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 stems of lemon grass
1/2 inch galangal
couple of kafir-lime leaves or 1 tsp lemon zest.
1 tbsp yellow curry paste or massaman curry powder or paste
1-2 leaves of thai basil
cilantro for garnish
salt to taste
chili oil for garnish (I did not use this)
1 red thai chili
1/2 tsp lemon juice

few baby corn cut
red, green bell peppers
few snow peas
carrots chopped
beans cut
mushrooms - (white button)
tofu (optional)

1 cup or a little more of all the veggies chopped - big chunks

I made my own veggie broth and used all the leftover veggies from here and a lot of the discarded lemon grass - the wooded part. It added lot of flavor. If you make the broth in a slow cooker - it's the best!

Add the veggies, lemon grass, galangal to the broth and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Now add the coconut milk, massaman powder or paste, basil leaves and zest of lemon. I did not have kafir lime leaves, so use lemon zest. Add 1/2 tsp lemon juice.

 Add more broth if the soup is thick as this soup is really watery. Bring to boil, add salt and serve hot - garnish with cilantro and red Thai chili. Am not crazy about floating oil on my soup, so I did not use the chili oil for garnish but Thai chili instead.

Recipe for massaman thai curry powder.

Edit : One of my readers pointed it out to me that tom (stew/soup), kha (leg), gai (chicken) is a coconut based chicken soup. This is my vegetarian version. I have always eaten a vegetarian version of this soup at my favorite Thai place....We learn every day :))

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  1. You know how much I love your posts. Your picture and posts remind me of country side living and leisurely life. You don't live a day my friend, you enjoy it!
    Absolutely loving this new style of yours!

  2. Lovely lovely snaps.inspiring shots

  3. Very flavourful soup... One of my most favourite.. What a lovely presentation ...

  4. Love your blogs!! ..its as if I'm enjoying the dish with you:)

  5. I spotted a 'Taste of home' magazine in the doctor's waiting room, as I'm flipping through the pages, guess whose recipe I spotted. Awesome Job Simi, the sweet potatoes looked great, so does the soup here. Have a great new year..

    1. Ratna,

      Thank you ! Thanks for making the effort to share it with me - so touched.

  6. I'm Thai and just wanted to let you know that translated, tom (stew/soup), kha (leg), gai (chicken) is a coconut based chicken soup, so I was surprised to see a vegetarian recipe when I clicked the link :) Interesting interpretation though!

  7. Thanks for letting me know - did not know that. Will make the edit to the post. I have ordered vegetarian Tom kha at my favorite Thai place in chicago :) !! We learn every day !


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to browse. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. Hope you enjoy your stay :))


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