Thai Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Thai home cooking used to be a mystery to me since I had a hard time finding a few commonly used ingredients, like lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves. Lemongrass has been easier to find recently, and I’ve come to love its floral, lemony aroma. If you can’t find any fresh lemongrass, use 2 teaspoons lemongrass paste or substitute 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and an extra 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger.

Prep time 15 minutes
Serves 6

11/2 pounds (680 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
11/2 quarts (1.4 liters) Simple Chicken Stock
12 ounces (340 g) sliced cremini or baby portobello mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 limes
1 Thai chilli, seeded and minced (a serrano pepper or small jalapeño would be okay)
2-inch (5 cm) knob of ginger, finely grated
3 tablespoons (57 g) fish sauce
1 tablespoon (20 g) honey
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 3-inch (7.5 cm) pieces lemongrass
1 14-ounce (400 ml) can coconut milk
1 cup (65 g) snow peas
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 Place the chicken in a 4-quart (3.8 liter) slow cooker with the stock, mushrooms, garlic, zest and juice from 1 of the limes, chilli, ginger, fish sauce, honey, sea salt, and black pepper.
2 Place the lemongrass on a cutting board. Lay a flat side of your knife over the stalks. Hit your fist firmly on the knife, bruising the lemongrass. Do this a few times until the stalk is smashed in several places. Transfer the lemongrass to the slow cooker.
3 Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours (or 3 to 4 on high).
4 Remove the chicken from the cooker, shred into small pieces, and return them to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk, snow peas, and 1/3 cup of cilantro. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Cut the remaining lime into wedges.
5 Remove the lemongrass stalks. Taste and add more salt and lime if necessary. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro, green onions, and lime wedges.