Total Time: 30 Minutes; 10 minutes active
Translated as boiled galangal, Tom Kha is a famous Thai soup, known for its intensely hot and sour flavors in a rich and creamy coconut-infused broth. Traditionally made with chicken or shrimp, substituting fish allows the intense aromas of the soup to penetrate the protein while quickly poaching it in the soup. Tom Kha is the perfect comforting soup when the leaves begin to change in fall. This soup will warm you up from the inside out through that frigid autumn breeze.
4 cups of chicken stock
1 thumb-sized chunk of galangal, cut into 1/2 in. slices
5 - 10 Thai chilies sliced in half lengthwise
3 stalks of lemongrass, bruised
4-5 kaffir lime leaves (typically found at Asian markets with the herbs, omit if you can’t find this)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 can of full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tablespoon of Nam Prik Pao (Thai Chili paste in soybean oil)
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
12 ounces of halibut fillets, chopped into bitesize pieces (salmon, catfish, or rockfish are great substitutes)
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Small bunch cilantro, chopped
Pour chicken stock into a large pot and bring to a boil.
Infuse the stock with the galangal, bruised lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves (use the back of a knife to bruise the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves), Thai chilis, and sugar. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Scoop out all the herbs, leaving just the flavored broth.
Reduce heat to medium-low and add the coconut milk.
In a small bowl, add the Nam Prik Pao Thai chili paste and a couple tablespoons of the soup, mix until the paste dissolves. Add the mix to the simmering soup base.
Add the onions and mushrooms. Let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the halibut chunks and simmer for 4-5 more minutes until the fish is no longer translucent and is cooked through.
Turn off the heat, then season with the fish sauce and lime juice. Be sure to taste! Fish sauce can differ in saltiness. Adjust to your liking by adding more fish sauce for saltiness, lime juice for sourness, or sugar for sweetness.
Serve in individual bowls, and garnish with some chopped cilantro.