Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftover Special: Tom Turkey Kha Gai

One of the great blessings, and curses, of Thanksgiving is leftover turkey. The next day it’s great reheated, or made into sandwiches, but by Day 3 you want something that tastes like not turkey. That’s where this spicy Thai coconut soup recipe comes in.

This is my take on Tom Kha Gai, and as usual I make no claim as to its authenticity. I do know it tastes amazing to me, and will make you forget you even roasted a turkey. There’s lots of everything going on here, so be prepared to adjust radically to your tastes. It should be fairly spicy, sweet, sour, and salty, all at the same time. 

If you can, see if you find galangal, or galanga root, as it's sometimes called. It looks like a thin-skinned ginger, with a sort of similar flavor, although people that make this soup for a living will say it's much different and far superior. I decided to use ginger, since that's what the majority of my audience will use, but I thought it was worth mentioning, in case you live in an area where this rhizome is available.      

As far as the chili oil goes, all I did was mash together a couple tablespoons of sambal with twice as much vegetable oil with a mortar and pestle. Once it settles, the gorgeous, red oil rises to the top, and you’re ready to drip. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, and that some of your leftover turkey finds its way into this delicious soup. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 serving:
 6 cups turkey or chicken broth
3” piece ginger, sliced thin
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, bruised and sliced
kefir lime or lemon leaves, sliced
2 tbsp cilantro stems
1/2 tsp chili flakes, or to taste
Simmer for 15 minutes

1 pound cubed turkey or chicken
1 cup little mushrooms
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
1 (13-oz) can coconut milk
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup green onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
Chili oil, cilantro leaves, and lime wedges to garnish


Henna said...

You were supposed to talk about the galangal?

Unknown said...

Chef Jon, did you clean the mushrooms before putting them in the stock?

Chef John said...

I didn't clean these shrooms, since they are grown in a sterile environment.

Daniel Bottoms said...

Chef John, thank you. That idea on sambal oil is absolutely boss. gonna make it tomorrow, although we have nothing planned for me to put it on!!! haha. but i'll just do it.

BTW: was just on youtube to read the comments (sometimes there are nice comments, ideas, etc.) and am simply shocked at all the negative comments. the other 89% of normal peeps will do it like you, and screw authenticity (whatever that means). Thanks for great recipe. To anyone who reads this, the taste profile between ginger and galangal is not that big. it's like as big as maybe chives to very young spring-onions, or very young red-onion to shallot. nothing to get all upset about. On a side note, i understand that galangal has a different medicinal use from ginger in Chinese medicine, but so far not seen that argument pop up.

Unknown said...

Chef John, I really love Thai food but my SO is vegetarian, is there anything I can use in place of fish sauce?

KeithYongg said...

Can we use raw cubed chicken breast and make sure it's cooked in the 15 min?

Unknown said...

Hi chef! I believe you meant kaffir lime leaves in the ingredient list; kefir is a fermented milk drink!

Unknown said...

I saw you didn't mention in the blog also
galangal is part of the name of this food :)

tom KHA gai
Kha (ข่า) is galangal in Thai

andrewaway said...

I love this soup. Well not exactly this version but I'm sure this is excellent. It is so fresh and delicious. Sometimes I add sweet potato and it somehow really works. And shrimps of course. Thanks John for all your inspiration.

Sick Vans Blog said...

Why do people completely lose their effing minds when an ethnic recipe is posted?

Jeez, you'd have thought he was posting a recipe for aborted fetus stew.

Unknown said...

The little mushrooms--do you mean beech mushrooms? Hypsizygus tessellatus.

Also, Chef John, I love the sound of your voice. Sometimes I play these videos just so I can listen to it again.

Unknown said...

Just made this, and it was so good! Sweet, creamy, tangy and spicy. I doubled the mushrooms, also using some canned straw mushrooms and then for fun throwing in a package of enoki (stems and tops cut into thirds) once the soup was done cooking. The enoki floated on top with the red sambal oil and were an eye-pleasing (and tasty) addition.

lulu said...

Tom Kha Turkey! Oh dear, I'd better not repeat this to my kids in case they ask, "What is Tom doing to the Turkey, Mum?"

(Gai means chicken, but who cares since this soup by any other name would taste just as yummy.)

Unknown said...

I just finished making this recipe. Forgot to get lime leaves and lime from the Asian store this morning, but I made the dish anyway leaving out the sugar as well bc there was no lime to temper. It is a wonderful, delicious recipe!

honestyrocks said...

WOW! This was a HUGE hit. And I botched it, to be honest. Didn't have lemongrass, so did without. Substituted minced lemon peel for kaffir lime leaves, substituted 1/2 Tbspn of ginger paste for the sliced ginger. I did boil the turkey carcass for 10 hours to get the authentic broth. Then I added a 5.29 oz. package of Dynasty Saifun bean threads to add an Asian noodle to it and to take up all the broth. Added hot chili sesame oil at the table and it was RESTAURANT quality. Love you, Chef John!

Unknown said...

Hello Chef one question, instead of the turkey or chicken broth can i use a mix of seafood broth?

Unknown said...

Mike Chen on his 'Strickly Dumpling' channel makes hot chili oil. He pours hot oil over chili flakes and, wha lah, chili oil. The fumes almost kill him.

Unknown said...

This looks so good that my kitty sat on my lap watching intently at the video. She doesn’t watch anything like that. Lol!