Tom Ka Gung with Variations
- 4 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 (12 ounce) can coconut cream (Not the reduced fat kind. Fat makes it taste DELICIOUS!)
- 2 cups chicken stock (I use the chicken stock paste that comes in little jars, Better Than Bouillon brand. It has no MSG and is all-natural. Plus, stored in the fridge, it lasts a LONG time.)
- 2 cups water
- 2 sprigs lemongrass, root (two inch sprigs, chopped into tiny slices)
- 1 kaffir lime leaf (or other lime leaf, tossed in whole--like bay leaves, you just fish them out before serving) (optional)
- 1 lime, juice of
1 can diced tomatoes, or 2 medium tomatoes, diced--with juices
- 4 garlic cloves (or more depending on your preference)
- 1 (19 ounce) package silken tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1/2 cup shrimp (optional)
- 1 cup mushrooms (Any kind, such as white, shiitake, portobello, straw, white, etc. I mostly use shiitake because I keep a giant container on hand, but the most authentic is straw mushrooms, which you can find canned in the Asian section of grocery stores.)
- 1 tablespoon red chili paste (I like Sriracha brand. Add more to taste. If serving to kids--my five-year-old likes this soup--then add ketchup instead. A small amount of ketchup tastes good--trust me!)
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root (Thai recipes call for galanga, but it's tricky to find--ginger root works fine instead)
- Chopped cilantro
- Thai basil, for garnish
- Hot chili sauce, such as Sriracha
- Diced hot chili peppers
- Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, and water to a heavy put, and begin to simmer while adding the other ingredients (except for garnishes and shrimp or other fish).
- After the spices have "relaxed," add either the shrimp or chunks of salmon and stir only until cooked (two or three minutes).
- Garnish and serve.
Vegetarian Soup Instead
* To make this soup vegetarian, substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock, and leave off the prawns. You've already got tofu, so that's a great protein source. Lastly, if fish sauce is a no-no, then substitute Bragg's Amino Acids (like soy sauce).
Tom Yam Instead
* To make Tom Yam instead of Tom Ka, do everything the same, except substitute more chicken stock to replace the coconut cream.