Chicken Galangal Coconut Soup (Tom Kha Gai) is a very popular tasty Thai soup. Be sure and use a good quality coconut milk such as Chaokah.
3 cups coconut milk -2 cans unsweetened
3 cups chicken stock
2 stalks lemon grass - bruised and cut into 2" sections
1 piece galangal (Siamese Ginger) thinly sliced
10-12 kaffir lime leaves (bai magroot) -- torn
3/4# skinless chicken breast cut into thin strips
1/2# white button mushrooms cut in half
4 tabs fresh lime juice
3 tabs fish sauce (nam pla)
2 tabs Chile Tamerind Paste (nam phrik pao)
2 tabs date palm sugar or light brown sugar
5 Thai chiles (phrik kee nu) bruised
Chopped spring onions - to garnish
Coriander leaves --to garnish (cilantro)
Bring the chicken stock, ginger, and lemon grass to a boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the torn kaffir Lime leaves. Simmer for ten minutes. Remove the lemongrass a kaffir lime leaves and disgard. Add the coconut milk, bring to a low boil for one minute. Add the chicken pieces, return to a boil, add the chile-tamerind paste and sugar, stir until encorporated. Add the mushroom pieces and simmer until they are tender-about one or two minutes.
Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce to taste and the chiles.
Garnish with spring onions, cilantro and chile flowers if desired. To make chile flowers; hold chile by the stem, using sissors cut into quadrants, not cutting through the stem, place in ice water for 15 minutes. They will curl as flowers.
from: Kasma Loha-unchit in Dancing Shrimp: Favorite Thai Recipes for Seafood. See pages 55 & 56.
Notes: Coconut milk/cream (gkati): Coconut milk is not the juice found inside a coconut, but the diluted cream pressed out from the thick, white flesh of a well-matured coconut.
To make coconut milk, finely grated coconut meat is steeped in hot water until it is cool enough to handle. It is then squeezed until dry; the white fluid is strained to remove all the pulp. When allowed to sit for a while, the coconut cream (hua gkati) rises to the top. Commercially, coconut cream is obtained by pressing grated coconut flesh by itself without water, using a specialized, heavy piece of machinery.
for full information on coconut milk: