Sala Thong restaurant in Cambridge. This bowl of rich soup, crammed with chicken and mushrooms steeped in coconut milk which has been infused with galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime (rind and juice, in the absence of leaves...) is heaven on the tongue. The restaurant serves it with Thai sticky rice (and I do too, when I can!) but it's just as good with Thai fragrant rice. The tricky bit, I think, is getting the consistency right - you need to remember that the mushrooms don't require more than about 5 minutes in the soup AND they give off a lot of liquid in cooking. I always fumble with that but I've never been disappointed with the results!
Chicken in Coconut Milk Soup
250 gms chicken breast, slice
2 cups coconut milk
6 thin slices young galangal
15-20 closed-cup white mushrooms, quartered
2 stalks lemongrass, lower portion, cut into 1-inch lengths and crushed
5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn in half (or 3-4 strips of kaffir lime + juice)
4 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar (...or honey)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
Garnish with a handful of coriander leaves, torn and the remainder of the sliced red chilli.
1. Combine half the coconut milk and half the sliced chilli with the galangal, lemongrass and lime leaves (or juice and rind) in a saucepan. Heat to boiling.
2. Add the chicken, fish sauce salt, sugar and white pepper. Simmer for about 4 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked, and then add the remaining coconut milk.
3. Heat just to boiling. Place the lime juice and fried chilli paste in a serving bowl and pour the soup over them.
4. Garnish with coriander leaves and sliced red chillies.
Serve with steamed fragrant or sticky rice. Serves 4, with accompaniments.