tom kha (ต้มข่า—tom kha)

Tom kha(ต้มข่า) is a popular soup featuring in Thai and Lao cuisines. Galangal is an essential flavor and combines with classic Thai and Lao spices like makrut lime leaf and bird eye chili in this soup; the name tom kha actually means galangal soup. Coconut milk is another distinguishing feature giving this soup a rather mild and creamy essence.

If using mushroom stock, tamarind water, and lemongrass, prepare these beforehand. Prepare spicy paste and boil broth, then combine and add any mushrooms and vegetables. Coconut milk can easily boil over, so add it in last of all and keep stirring the broth.

Tom kha is often served with rice and works great on its own or as an accompaniment. A similar, classic Thai soup without coconut is tom yam.

recipe(serves 2)

2 cup mushroom stock or water
1 lime juice or tamarind water
1 stalk lemongrass
1 thumb galangal
2 bird eye chili
4 kaffir lime leaf
4 straw mushroom or oyster mushroom or other mushroom
1 cup coconut milk
1 shallot, chopped
2 Thai eggplant, 4 long bean, 1 bitter melon, or other vegetable, chopped(optional)
8 stem coriander or dill weed

• pound lemongrass, galangal, chili
• boil mushroom stock, salt, kaffir lime leaf
• add spice mixture, mushroom, shallot
• simmer, stirring
• add coconut milk
• garnish with herb
• serve