Greatest recipes ever: David Thompson’s chicken and galangal soup

‘This is one of the best soups-salty, sweet, sour and rich, all at the same time-brought to my kitchen by the master of authentic Thai cooking’

Rose Prince

Chicken and Galangal Soup (Dtom khaa gai)

Extract from David Thompson’s Thai Food
Published by Pavilion in 2002

This is one of the best known of Thai soups, and deservedly so. There is a wonderful interplay between the richness of the coconut cream-which is slightly separated by being boiled-the peppery galangal and the sour finish. Although this soup’s name means ‘boiled galangal’, it has become associated in most people’s minds with chicken. However, many other ingredients can be used in a dtom khaa: fish, shellfish, mushrooms of all kinds, quail and pork are some possibilities.

2 cups chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
Pinch of salt
1tsp palm sugar
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed
3 red shallots, peeled
2 coriander roots, scraped
2-3 bird’s eye chillies (scuds)
10 slices galangal
3 kaffir lime leaves
100g (3oz) chanterelles, straw or oyster mushrooms, torn
100g (3oz) skinless chicken breast or thigh fillets, sliced
2-3tbsp fish sauce
1tbsp lime juice
Extra 4-5 bird’s eye chillies (scuds), bruised
1tbsp coriander leaves

In a pan, combine stock with coconut milk and cream. Bring to the boil, season with salt and sugar. Bruise lemongrass, shallots, coriander roots and scuds using a pestle and mortar. Add to boiling stock, along with galangal and lime leaves. Simmer for a few minutes, then add mushrooms and chicken, turn down the heat and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked. In a serving bowl, mix fish sauce, lime juice, extra scuds and coriander. Ladle in the soup, stir and check seasoning-it should taste rich, salty, sour and hot.

* For more recipes like this every week, subscribe and save