Recipe: Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

Note: Almost every Thai restaurant in Southern California serves one version or another of this soup from our intern Jet Tila. And no wonder: The combination of coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and lemon grass from the stock is sweet and fragrant. What’s even more amazing, once you’ve made the stock (which can be frozen and used for many other soups), the whole thing comes together in 15 minutes--that’s less time than it takes to call in an order!

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes

4 cups Thai Chicken Stock

2 (3-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 (15-ounce) can straw mushrooms, drained

1 to 3 roasted Thai peppers

5 tablespoons fish sauce

3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not light)

1 1/2 cups chopped cabbage

Kaffir (Thai) lime leaves, for garnish

Cilantro leaves, for garnish

* Bring Thai Chicken Stock to simmer over medium-high heat in large pot. Add chicken, mushrooms and peppers and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice and coconut milk. Add chopped cabbage and cook until just tender, about 1 minute. Divide among serving bowls and garnish each with 1 to 2 lime leaves and cilantro.

4 to 6 servings. Each of 6 servings: 216 calories; 1,270 mg sodium; 12 mg cholesterol; 16 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 11 grams protein; 2.18 grams fiber.

Thai Chicken Stock

Active Work Time: 10 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour

This Thai chicken stock is the base for the soup recipe.

1 chicken carcass

8 to 10 cups water

3/4 to 1 cup thinly sliced galangal

6 stalks lemon grass, lower thick portion only, pounded

10 kaffir (Thai) lime leaves

* Place chicken carcass in stockpot. Add water, galangal and lemon grass. Roll lime leaves and crush lightly with hand, then add to pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes to 1 hour. Strain. 6 cups. Each cup: 20 calories; 580 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 1 gram carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0 fiber.