So, you’ve toiled laboriously and made a too-good-for-words chili sauce for version one of the tom kha gai I take it, right? Now try this version of tom kha gai, adapted from Night + Market, where I go off recipe to employ an easier (albeit less authentic) way to produce a just-as-delicious-but-tastes-a-little-different soup.
Don’t be deterred; this version takes less than half the time as the original to produce results.
1 stalk lemongrass, outer leaves removed and root trimmed
3 cups chicken broth
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 1/2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup oyster mushrooms, torn into pieces
3/4 pound chicken thighs
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons jarred Thai-style chili sauce
2 teaspoons chili oil
1 teaspoon minced fresh bird’s eye chilis
4 tablespoons lime juice
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1. Mince 1 tablespoon of the lemongrass and set the rest of the lemongrass aside. Place the chicken in a bowl, add the garlic, minced lemongrass, a pinch of salt and pepper, and enough cold water to just cover the chicken. Mix and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove from brine and cut into bite-size pieces.
2. In the meantime, carefully bruise the remaining lemongrass with a heavy object, then slice the stalk crosswise at an angle into 2-inch lengths.
3. In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups water and the chicken broth to a boil. Add the lemongrass, lime leaves, and bouillon cube, stirring until dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
4. Stir in the coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, mushrooms, and chicken and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and the chicken is cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chili sauce, chili oil, and lime juice and remove from the heat.
5. Serve hot in individual bowls and garnish with cilantro and green onions.