This guest post is from our favorite ladies, Natalie and Holly, over at The Modern Proper. Their mission is to reinvent proper for the modern homemaker, one delicious meal at a time. Check out more of their delicious recipes here.
Soup. There is a reason it’s so popular among homemakers. It warms the heart, the home, and the bellies of your loved ones on even the dreariest of evenings. Beyond whatever delicious is simmering in the pot, there’s something so comforting about knowing that while you’re going about your business, doing this and that, dinner is all the while cooking away on the stove.
This month, I’ve suddenly found myself with two of my three children in school for the first time, and the whole family is struggling to adapt to our new normal that includes early mornings, busy afternoons, and quiet, uneventful evenings that beg for comfort food, good books, and hot baths for all. And while I’ve always left soup territory squarely in my mom’s corner, this season it’s calling my name. Fortunately, where I lack, my better half of a business partner, Holly thrives. She has a knack for creating and reinventing soups that meet the needs of body and soul for the whole family (because what good is an amazing recipe if half of the people in your house refuse to eat it?) and today I’m sharing one of her tried and true favorites.
The Modern Proper version of the classic Tom Kha Gai is the result of many years of trial and error on Holly’s part, and we both believe she’s dang near perfected this Thai food classic. It’s rich, beautifully balanced, simple to make, yet complex in flavor, soothing, yet punchy, exotic, yet not intimidating to those with more sensitive palates. Another bonus? This recipe can easily be tweaked to comply with a host of special dietary concerns (we’ve got dairy, and gluten allergies in our families) to create a dish that literally everyone you know can enjoy. It’s truly everything you want in a meal for a crowd however large or small that crowd might be. I even have a friend who swears it’s the cure to the common cold…no promises, of course, but it works for her! It’s definitely our family’s cure to a hectic day, when we can all finally sit down together and slurp away at this one pot wonder. So I challenge you, don’t be intimidated by exotic flavors and please, don’t leave the soup making to the previous generous. Carry that torch yourself this fall and feed your family hearty, healthy and soul satisfying meals.
Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)
4 cups chicken stock
1 can coconut milk
8 slices of fresh ginger
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer portion removed tender portion only, chopped into 2 inch pieces, slightly crushed with the back of a knife
½ sweet onion thinly sliced
1 lb chicken very thinly sliced (very easy to do if chicken is sliced while still slightly frozen)
½ lb crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
5 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp red curry paste
½ tsp salt
2-3 limes (should equal ½ cup or so juiced) 1 tbsp grated lime zest
½ cup basil leaves
chili flakes or chili paste (optional)
In a large soup pot combine the chicken stock, coconut milk, ginger, lemongrass and onion and bring to a boil. Add the chicken, mushrooms, fish sauce, and sugar, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until the chicken is white and firm, about 4 minutes. Add the curry paste, lime juice, lime zest and basil and heat to just below boiling, about 3 minutes. Serve soup with additional basil.