Hope everyone had a great weekend. We entertained good friends over the weekend. The meal was uniquely southeast Asian. It featured Vietnamese spring-rolls, mango-ginger salad, amok, red curry pork and tom kha gai soup. The wines were a bunch of repeats from the CWG side (two Chardonnays and then a delicious port after dinner) while our friends brought a nice Penfolds Bin 28, which if it was not the 3rd bottle of the evening would have warranted a review, since it was so deep and so mix with the spices of the dinner, no fair nor accurate review can be done. Instead I give you a recipe, this one was passed on from a much savier Thai foodie then I, special props to Stewart Hawkins for this fantastic little gem. As with all Thai dishes you are best to balance the meal with flavours, Tom Kha Gai should be medium in the ‘spiciness’ scale, and can be (in fact is usually served) with many other dishes. A good way to do Thai is: a relish, a soup (listed here), a curry and a salad.
Most of these ingredients they are probably best found in locations where Asian foods are sold, in Toronto you can get all of the ingredients from anyone of the many Chinese ‘supermarkets’ in China Town on Spadina Ave. Of note: Tom Kha Gai means soup of chicken and galangal, galangal looks similar to ginger but is very different.
800 ml coconut milk
6-10 kaffir lime leaves
5-6 slices of galangal
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablepoon lime juice
1 teaspoon palm sugar (be generous)
2 fresh Thai chilies, chopped (not bird’s nests)
1 stalk lemon grass, roughly chopped
200g straw mushrooms
200g chicken thigh fillets, thinly sliced
Thai basil (handful)
Bring coconut milk to a gentle boil in a large saucepan. Add lime leaves, lime juice, fish sauce, galangal, sugar, chilies, lemongrass. Cook 5 mins. Add chicken and mushrooms, cook another 10-15 mins until chicken is done. Take off the heat and chuck in a handful of Thai basil and corriander. Leave overnight. Re-heat, and add more Thai basil and coriander. You can garnish with crispy fried eschalotts if you could be bothered.