Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tom Kah Gai = Feel Better Now!

I saw a great quote the other said "Trust those who seek the truth, but doubt those who say they've found it." The truth is that I haven't found it, but I am always looking. I've been posting for a while now about the evils of saturated fat, so I thought I'd take a moment to talk about the opposite.

For every post I find about Dr. Swanks approach and the research he's done showing a correlation between saturated fat intake and MS, I find others with interesting and equally scientific claims.
  • Roger Macdougall's approach was to cut out gluten after finding that gluten increased his exacerbations. 
  • Dr. William Crook found an association between patients with MS and Candida. 
  • Other studies point out the low incidence of MS in tropical areas and suggest that coconut oil may help those suffering from MS. 
My point here is that no one knows with 100% certainty what causes MS and what fixes MS. I bring this up because I was really worried about sharing this recipe. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this soup. I dream about this soup. I'm pretty sure I could eat it every day.
Because of that somewhat inappropriate love, I refused to look up the nutritional data. I couldn't ruin that relationship. Instead I spent hours researching and preparing to justify this soup to those of you on the Swank Diet.  I was worried it would be really high in saturated fat because of the coconut milk.

However, when I decided to put on my big girl pants and confront the data I was pleasantly surprised.
This soup is low in calories, low in fat, high in nutrition and absolutely delicious. One word of warning though... no two. One, those of you on a low sodium diet should steer clear of this soup, or try it without the fish sauce. Two, this is incredibly addicting.

Tom Kha Gai
Translation: Chicken Galangal Soup
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups leftover shredded chicken
2 inches of galangal* – peeled and cut into discs
2 stalks lemongrass – cut into 2" segments
3 cloves garlic – chopped
2 shallots, crushed
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
2 cups of mushrooms - halved
1 can baby corn - drained
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp Splenda light brown sugar
4 kaffir lime leaves – bruised lightly**
1 fresh serrano red chili - halved lengthwise
Cilantro, mung bean sprouts and Siracha for garnish

In a large saucepan bring chicken broth to a boil. Add in lemongrass, galangal, garlic, and shallots with half a cup of coconut milk. Return to a boil, then reduce the heat and relax while it simmers for another 10 minutes. Add in mushrooms, leftover chicken, baby corn, fish sauce and brown sugar. Bring to a boil again. (Do you sense a trend?) Turn the heat to low. Add in the chilies, kaffir lime leaves, and the remaining coconut milk. Simmer on low for the final 10 minute stretch. Stir occasionally. Serve soup topped with cilantro, bean sprouts and siracha.

I thought about adding this picture earlier in the post...but then I had this weird inner monologue that went something like this: HEY! You have all those * things on the recipe. Perhaps people will be motivated to read farther. Perhaps they'll look past the recipe to see what they should know about galangal. Do people read entire posts? Or do they simple see a good picture, skim the recipe and race to the store? What if people go to the store without knowing this picture is here? What if they are unable to describe what they need to the non-english speaking people at the Asian market? Hmmmm maybe I should put it earlier in the post. Naw, screw em. It'll be a reward for the readers out there. PS: Thank you.

* Galangawha? This recipe introduced me to 2 of my favorite ingredients. Galangal has this incredible bite to it. It's similar to ginger...but not close enough to use as a substitute in this recipe. It can be found at most Asian markets in dried or fresh form. If you don't live close to one of those you can also order it on Amazon. In fact, you can order this really cool Thai bundle that includes all the things you need for this soup by clicking here. (I might love Amazon too much.)

But back to galangal. It has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb. Here are a few things it claims to help alleviate:
- indigestion and stomach complaints
- seasickness and motion sickness, including nausea
- ulcers and inflammation of the stomach
- rheumatism
- colds, flu, and fevers
- dementia
- bad breath
- diarrhea
- poor blood circulation, especially in hands and feet
- tumors (anti-tumor effect has been observed in mice)
Pretty cool, right?! I bought way more of it than I needed even after the double batch I made. The good news is that it freezes well and is nice to add to tea.

** FYI- a kaffir lime leaf has 2 segments to each leaf. To bruise the leaves you should literally imagine it is skin and bruise it in a similar manner. I had to look it up the first time I made this. ALSO, the internet told me to add remaining leafs to a bath for a totally luxurious smell...maybe I didn't add enough. It seemed like a waste. Instead of the weird bath suggestion I recommend making a tea. Add a small piece of galangal, 1 kaffir lime leaf, a 1" segment of lemon grass and half a lemon to a mug of boiling water. Let it steep and enjoy. It seems to give me a burst of energy so I would suggest not drinking it before bed.

Wow, so after all the notes you are still here. I'm surprised.
The only obvious reason is either you are bored at work, or (perhaps) you are a fellow nerd.
So here it is, your moment of nerdness:
This nutrition data is based off of 6 servings which is a very large portion.
Calories                       145.4
Total Fat                          3.4 g
    Saturated Fat               0.5 g
    Polyunsaturated Fat     0.4 g
    Monounsaturated Fat   0.9 g
Cholesterol                    50.1 mg
Sodium                      796.9 mg   <----- Woah Na!
Potassium                   409.9 mg
Total Carb                      6.1 g
Dietary Fiber                  1.3 g
Sugars                            1.4 g
Protein                          21.0 g
Vitamin A                3.2 %
Vitamin B-12          8.0 %
Vitamin B-6          28.1 %
Vitamin C             11.1 %
Vitamin D               2.2 %
Vitamin E               0.9 %
Calcium                 3.2 %
Copper                11.9 %
Folate                    5.5 %
Iron                      16.5 %
Magnesium           16.1 %
Manganese           33.0 %
Niacin                   50.1 %
Pantothenic Acid   10.2 %
Phosphorus           23.2 %
Riboflavin                8.9 %
Selenium               24.5 %
Thiamin                   6.4 %
Zinc                        7.5 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. 

Not bad right?! We love this soup so much that there are rarely leftovers. Next time I'll be making and freezing extra soup so we can have it on hand the minute a cold starts to appear. 
What are your favorite feel better foods? 


  1. I love Tom Kah soup! I've just never thought of making it myself. I'm adding this to my Evernote recipe box so I can try it one of these days. We do have several Asian markets in our city, so I should be able to find all the ingredients. One question--do you think leaving out the fish sauce would change it considerably? My husband loves Tom Kah, but hates anything he thinks might be even remotely related to anything fish. He hasn't figured out that his favorite restaurant Tom Kah has fish sauce in it. Haha. I just know I'd never be able to bring fish sauce into the house. I'm sure he'd find it and never eat this great soup again.

    1. It probably won't change it too much. Try a batch using 2 tbs soy sauce and 1 tbs lime juice in place of the fish sauce. They need to make little to-go style packets of fish sauce so it's easier to smuggle into a dish.
      Let me know how it turns out with the substitution.

  2. I have never had this soup. But I sure do want some! yum. Thank you for sharing at the hop xo

  3. Hi, Great post. I found you through the blog hop. Now following you.Please stop by and say hi when you get a chance.
    Be sure and check out my new Blog Hop that we just started, It's Weekly Goals Link Up. It's a great way to stay on track. Have a great day. :) Here's the link in case you want to check it out. Thanks again.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...