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This spectacular soup is one of Thailand's best-known dishes. It is easy to make and includes many of the ingredients that distinguish classic Thai cooking: lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, kaffir lime, chiles, and coconut milk. I like the soup made with chunks of chicken on the bone, but you may use boneless if you prefer. Do not eat galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves. They deliver a bouquet of flavors but are far too tough to consume.
1 whole chicken breast, chopped into 1-inch
(2.5-cm) pieces on the bone
2 cups (16fl oz/500 ml) chicken stock
3 cups (24 fl oz/750 ml) coconut milk
10 slices fresh galangal or 5 slices dried galangal
4 stalks lemongrass, tender midsection only and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths
6 green Thai chiles or 8 green serrano chiles, cut in half crosswise
8 kaffir lime leaves, spines removed
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz/105 g) drained canned straw mushrooms
1/2 cup (2 oz/60 g) sliced bamboo shoots
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup (2fl oz/60 ml) fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/4 cup (1/4 oz/7 g) fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
In a large saucepan, combine the chicken, chicken stock, coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass, chiles, and lime leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle boil and cook, uncovered for 20 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and bamboo shoots, stir well, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Add the fish sauce and lime juice, then taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls, garnish with coriander, and serve.
Posted October 20, 2009
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