Tom Kai Gai

This is the classic Thai chicken coconut milk soup. It is superbly easy to make, and wonderful as a meal or side dish. It is also great for easing a sore throat or beating a cold.

Ingredients
8oz sliced chicken breast
1 C water
1 large can (20 oz) coconut milk
½ -1T tom kai paste
15 thin slices galangal
1 stalk lemon grass
5  Kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1 T palm sugar
3 T fish sauce
3 T lime/lemon juice
chili flakes to taste
Cilantro

Directions
1. Bring water to a boil.
2. Add lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and chicken. Simmer for 7 minutes.
3. Turn down the heat and add the coconut milk.
4. Flavor with lemon juice, sugar, chili flakes, and fish sauce.
5. Serve with cilantro on top

Vegan version:

Ingredients
8oz sliced tofu
1 C water
1 large can (20 oz) coconut milk
½ -1T  tom kai paste
15 thin slices galangal
1 stalk lemon grass
5  Kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1 T palm sugar
3 T lime/lemon juice
chili flakes to taste

Shopping at Asian markets

If you are like me, and love Asian food, then definitely, you should be shopping at Asian markets. If you have never been to one, it will be quite an adventure. There are a myriad of condiments, spices, and seasonings, all sorts of seaweeds, fresh herbs and produce, fermented foods, and fresh and frozen meats and seafood, rarely seen outside of Asian markets. You will find the ingredients that make the difference in how authentic your Asian dishes taste. Also, one of the great benefits is that prices are generally much better than in regular grocery stores.

I should note, when you are choosing brands, read the labels very carefully. It can be hard to find some items without MSG, aspartame, high fructose corn syrup, food coloring, and other things I assume you would like to avoid. It can be done, just have patients and bring your glasses for the small print.

Tom Kai Gai:
Coconut milk (better by far than Trader Joe’s)
Kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen)
Lemon grass (fresh)
Galangal (fresh)
Ginger (fresh)
Fish sauce
Tom yum paste

Miso Soup:
Organic red miso
Silken tofu (organic of course)
Wakame seaweed – I like the kind that is in small pieces
Bonito fish flakes

Sushi:
Rolling mat to make sushi rolls
Nori
Organic soy sauce
Seasoned rice vinegar
Wasabi
Pickled ginger
Sesame seeds

Spring Vegetable Soup

This spring vegetable soup is fast, easy, nutritious and delicious – just the way I like it. It is also perfect for spring time since all of the ingredients are readily available. To make a vegan version just substitute olive oil and one of the non-dairy cream options for the dairy. For a Thai spin, use the coconut milk and add some Tom Yum paste, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, and galangal. Oh, and LOTS of red pepper flakes!

INGREDIENTS

•    2 T  butter or olive oil
•    1 pound leeks, chopped
•    1 onion, chopped
•    2 quarts water
•    3 large potatoes, chopped (I leave these out since I am allergic to them)
•    2 large carrots, chopped
•    1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
•    1/3 cup uncooked long-grain white or brown rice (if desired)
•    3 teaspoons salt
•    1/2 pound fresh spinach
•    1 cup heavy cream or toffuti soy sour cream or coconut milk.

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt the butter/oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the leeks and onion, and cook until tender.
2. Pour water into the pot. Mix in potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and rice. Season with salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20-30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
3. Stir spinach and cream into the soup mixture, and continue cooking about 5 minutes before serving.