Skip the takeout menu and make this fresh and fragrant slow cooker Thai chicken coconut soup (tom kha gai) at home!
You know how much we love eating and cooking Asian food in our house which is why I’ve shared hundreds of Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai and Chinese inspired recipes with you all over the years. Well balanced, vegetable forward and full of bright flavors, authentic Asian food is often quite healthy and nutritious.
When my friend Natalie asked me to review her newest cookbook, The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking, I was immediately drawn to one of my all time favorite Thai soups: tom kha gai. Made with creamy coconut milk, tangy lime juice and tender white-meat chicken, it is the ultimate healthy comfort dish.
The best part? This soup is just one of the 200 nourishing recipes in Natalie’s book that are not only paleo but can be made entirely in the slow cooker. A few other dishes I can’t wait to try include Chipotle Beef & Avocado Soup, Kung Pao Chicken & Vegetables and Shredded Lamb Korma.
Natalie, a fellow busy mama (she has FOUR little ones!) knows a thing or two about prepping ahead to get a healthy dinner on the table and this cookbook is the ultimate handbook to making that happen. Grab your copy today!
Your spoon is waiting.
Thai home cooking used to be a mystery to me since I had a hard time finding a few commonly used ingredients, like lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves. Lemongrass has been easier to find recently, and I’ve come to love its floral, lemony aroma. If you can’t find any fresh lemongrass, use 2 teaspoons of lemongrass paste or substitute 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and an extra 1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
- 12 ounces sliced cremini or baby bella mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Thai chile seeded and minced (a serrano pepper or small jalapeno would be ok)
- 2 inch knob ginger finely grated
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 3-inch pieces lemongrass
- 14 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup snow peas
- 1/3 cup chopped chilantro plus more to garnish
- 3 green onions, sliced thinly
Place the chicken in a 4 quart slow cooker with the stock, mushrooms, garlic, zest and juice from 1 of the limes, chile, ginger, fish sauce, honey, sea salt, and black pepper.
Place the lemongrass on a cutting board. Lay a flat side of your knife over the stalks. Hit your fist firmly on the knife, bruising the lemongrass. Do this a few times until the stalk is smashed in several places. Transfer the lemongrass to the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours (or 3-4 on high).
Remove the chicken from the cooker, shred into small pieces and return them to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk, snow peas, and 1/3 cup of cilantro. Cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Cut the remaining lime into wedges.
Remove the lemongrass stalks. Taste and add more salt and lime, if necessary. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro, green onions and lime wedges
If you can find galangal, use that in place of the fresh ginger. You can also use 2 teaspoons of lemongrass paste in place of the fresh lemongrass.
Recipe and photography by Natalie Perry, author of The Big Book of Paleo Slow Cooking.
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