Tom Yum Gai

Tom yum gai means a tasty variety of tom yum soup prepared with chicken. A variety of methods are there to make tom yum soup. Take for example tom yum goong, in which shrimp is the main ingredient, on the other hand, tom yum nam khon is another variety, in which coconut milk is an essential ingredient of the broth. However it is to be remembered that just the replacement of shrimp by chicken in the tom yum goong, cannot turn it into tom yum gai. Tom yum gai needs different ingredients than those used in its other counterparts. You will have to approach the nearby Asian food store, to get some ingredients of this soup. Fresh ingredients make the soup taste best, but if you buy and store dried ingredients, you will be able to make the soup whenever you wish.

Following ingredients make soup for 4 people:

2 cups of chicken stock
2 tbsp of groundnut oil
2 stalks of fresh or dried lemongrass, chopped
3 slices of fresh galangal (2 slices are enough if dried one is taken)
2 tbsp of fish sauce
2 tablespoons of tamarind juice
3-4 kaffir lime leaves, can be taken either fresh or frozen
10 to 15 Thai chillies
2 green onions, sliced (optional)
1 medium onion, halved
5 slices of fresh ginger
2 to 3 tbsp of roasted chilli garlic sauce or chilli sauce
1 boneless skinless chicken breast half (half pound or 8 ounces, made into thin slices)
2 garlic flakes, chopped
2 tbsp of lime juice
4 to 5 ripe tomatoes, made into quarters (optional)
5 button mushrooms, made into quarters
10 small crimini or straw mushrooms, made into quarters
Coriander (Cilantro) (to taste)
2 cups water

Now let us make our tom yum gai soup with these ingredients. You will have to saut all these until the onion becomes transparent and chicken becomes slightly pink. To this, add the chicken stock and water and boil. Then add the remaining lemongrass and ginger, fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, galangal and tamarind juice. Let the mixture come to a boil again and then let it be cooked for 3 minutes. Then add chilli sauce, mushrooms and garlic flakes. You have to decrease the heat now and simmer the mixture for next 7 minutes. Add now the chillies and tomatoes. A short while after this, add the lime juice and green onions, keeping the flame very low. Let it be simmered for some time more. If you wish, you can add more of fish sauce too. Turn the fire off. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.

If spiciness is your liking, you can chop the chillies. If you keep the chillies whole, the soup will be mild. Remember that dry chillies are spicier, so if used, reduce their quantity to 1/3rd that of the fresh ones. As per your liking, you can add tofu too with chicken. These are to be cut into cubes and stir-fried, the same time when you stir-fry the chicken.

BOLA TANGKAS
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