Tom Kha Kung: Spicy Thai Soup With Shrimp
I had the opportunity to take a Thai cooking class while vacationing in Thailand. Back then, I was not a fan of Thai food, but the experience made me an avid lover and appreciator.
Thai cuisine relies on simple and light recipes that are packed with aromatic components, with a spicy kick to them. Cooking in Thailand was so soothing that it felt like a spa experience. We got to cook in this beautiful, open space kitchen of a grandiose hotel, nested on top of the mountain in Phuket facing the ocean. The produce were freshly picked from a nearby farm, and the chef was entertaining.
After returning from Thailand, I found it difficult to replicate this culinary experience. Not only due to the incomparable city scenery, but because of the limited availability of fresh Thai food and produce. It was difficult to find a balance of healthiness and convenience when it came to prepackaged ones. Most of the products of Thai soups and noodles are processed with insanely high levels of sugar and carbohydrates. Some of them even contain MSG!
Therefore, I decided it’s best to cook in the most natural way, and found a nearby international market (World Market) that sells Thai food ingredients (however, I am still not able to find fresh lemongrass). Even though it takes more time to cook these dishes, the product is fresh, healthy, and full of rich flavors.
If you love Thai food and refuse to eat it processed out of a box, this recipe is ideal for you. It’s easy to make and the ingredients can be found in any international aisle of a major grocery store.
Tom Kha Kung is a famous spicy soup with coconut milk base. The soup is usually served at the beginning of the meal. The fusion of the sweetness of the coconut milk with the spice of red curry paste yields a divine taste.
Note, I love my soup spicy; if you like it mild, make sure to tone down on the Red Curry Paste. If you find the soup too plain, you can always add more while steering the soup as well.
Servings: 2 bowls
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
– (13.5 fl oz or 400 ml) Unsweetened Coconut Milk- I used in this recipe a can of Chaokoh Coconut Milk
– (1.5 tsp) Minced Garlic
– (2 tsp) Minced Lemongrass- Substitute with fresh ones if found
– (4 tsp) Red Curry Paste
– (6) Kaffir Lime Leaves- If not found, just add lime to the dish
– (7) Fresh White Mushrooms- Substitute with Maitake mushrooms if found
– (10)Peeled Raw Shrimps
– (1 bunch) Cilantro
– (1/2) Lime
– (1/2) Red Bell Pepper
The consistency of the Coconut milk is essential in this recipe. The milk needs to be stirred gently at all times and in the same direction. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer while cooked on low heat; it cannot boil, else it will coagulate. As soon as you see small bubbles forming on the sides of the pot, move it off the stove and steer gently your Tom Kha Kung before serving.
1) Wash all produce and chop into fine sizes
2) Combine the Red Bell Pepper, Garlic, Mushrooms, and Lemongrass into a pot
3) Add the Red Curry Paste while gently stirring
4) Add the Coconut Milk while gently stirring
5) Add the Shrimps to the soup
6) Add the Kaffir Lime Leaves with any additional condiments if needed while steering
7) Take the soup off the stove once Shrimps are cooked
8) Garnish with fresh Lemongrass, Cilantro, and a squeeze of Lime
9) Serve hot and spicy!
Until next time!
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