Gai Tom Ka and my love of Thai food

Gai Tom Ka and my love of Thai food

It is no secret around here that I love Thai food. It comes through in a great deal of my cooking. However, living in central Vermont, there are not a lot of Thai food options OR ingredients. We make do with what we got. Period. So my apologies for the few ingredients that are less than authentic. This is one of my absolute favorites and I make it quite often for my weekly specials for my customers. It freezes like a dream as well. It is rare that I don’t have at least 1 quart held up in emergency back stock. We will try this is one in my series of “The No Recipe Recipes”. Don’t be scared.

Start with this in a big old pot: IMG_3302

Sorry for the crappy picture. I’m working on it (all good things in time), but this includes: 1 thumb of ginger, 1 jalapeno, scallions, dried shiitake mushrooms, fresh shiitake mushroom stems, star anise, basil and lemongrass. Shrimp shells if you’ve got them! Add 4-5 cans of coconut milk and 1 quart of stock (vegetable,chicken, fish, shrimp, pork…whatever). Bring to a bubble and simmer for at least 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, during the simmer, cut up these veg (or any variation you like) into easy-to-fit-in-your-mouth pieces and place them raw in another big pot:

Red and/or yellow peppers, cabbage (Chinese if available), Bok choy, slivered white onion, bambo shoots, spinach, fresh shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms… Feel free to add cooked chicken, pork or shrimp here as well.

Strain the hot coconut broth right over these fresh raw veg.

Add chopped up scallion, cilantro and the zest + juice of a few limes. Season the soup to taste with soy sauce or tamari AND fish sauce. (Yes, it smells a bit much, but NOT to be skimped. Use a light hand and add a splash or two, there is nothing like it).

End up with this and many friends… IMG_3310

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