Tom Kha Teacups

Autumn is just around the corner, and you know what that means?

Soup weather.

We are gonna be making many different kinds of broths as much as we can to create some luscious soups and braises as the impeding doom and gloom settles just outside our window, and to start, we decided to give you guys one of our go-to’s we’ve had for years.

Everyone has that drinkable “cure all” in the back of their mind that they subconsciously reach to whenever they can feel the grip of sickness beginning to take hold. It’s always some kind of elixir that warms you up and rejuvenates you, making you more aware of your senses and rousing you from your slump. While we certainly don’t wait to be ill to make this recipe, it’s the first thing we reach for when we start to feel under the weather. This light and complex broth is crammed with Southeast Asian aromatics and Thai chiles that blast away any feelings of sluggishness or apathy, leaving your mind—and sinuses—a little clearer than they were a moment before. We can’t help but grin with every time we take a sip.

This recipe isn’t new, but the presentation and ratios might be. Tom kha gai is a soup that most people know about, but whenever we crave it we don’t necessarily want all the toppings and noodles it sometimes comes with; we just want that broth. We meditated on that preference, and the more we thought about it the more we realized that the preparation was less like other soups where you need to cook what you’re adding into it. Since you discard most of your flavorings at the end, it’s really just an infusion. It’s more like, well, tea. 

This broth is magical, and we encourage you to take a step back and enjoy the delicious simplicity of it on its own. Your body will thank you.

Tom Kha Teacups:

Makes scant 5 cups broth.

  • 4 cups good chicken broth (preferably homemade)

  • 2 stalks lemongrass, very roughly chopped, white and tender green parts only

  • 2 inches galangal, very roughly chopped

    • Note: If you can’t find galangal, you can use ginger to substitute for this. It won’t taste the same, but it will still be delicious.

  • 1 ounce shrimp shells (optional, but highly recommended)

  • ½ cup coconut milk

  • ¼ cup fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon palm sugar simple syrup

  • 8 kaffir lime leaves

  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped and packed

  • 2 thai chiles, roughly chopped, stems removed

In a saucepan on high heat, add the chicken broth, lemongrass, galangal, shrimp shells (if you’re using them), fish sauce, and palm sugar simple syrup. Bring to a boil, then bring the heat down to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the lid and turn the heat off. Add the coconut milk, lime leaves, cilantro, and Thai chiles, then put the cover back on. Let stand for 4 minutes. Strain the broth and discard all the aromatics. Serve in teacups, bowls, or just leave it in the sauce pan and use a bendy straw.

Serves 4-ish.

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