I was flipping through David Thompson’s Thai Food cookbook the other day when I came across a recipe for this shredded chicken and lemongrass soup. It immediately caught my attention, partly because it sounded great and partly because I already had all of the ingredients on hand to make it.
I showed the recipe to the boyfriend to see if it was a soup he was familiar with, but he just kinda shrugged his shoulders. Without tasting it or seeing its name in Thai (the cookbook only provides transliterations), it was hard for him to know.
So without much input one way or the other, I decided to go ahead and give it a try.
The soup starts with a broth that’s infused with lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves, just like the more well-known coconut milk soup (tom kha gai). Chicken is added to cook in and soak up the flavors of this broth and then the broth is seasoned with Thai chilis, lime juice, and fish sauce. Once the broth is seasoned to your liking, you remove everything and then add back the chicken in shredded form and a new set of herbs which have been very finely sliced.
After making the soup, adjusting the recipe to my tastes as I went along, I placed a steaming hot bowl of it in front of the boyfriend. He took one sip of the broth and smiled.
“Oh yeah, my mom makes this soup for me all the time!”
Fortunately, he also said that my version tasted exactly how it’s supposed to, which is a light, refreshing broth that pops with complex flavors of lemongrass, lime, and chilis. It’s a wonderfully delicious blend of hot, sour, and salty, just as any good Thai soup should be. So I hope you give it a try and enjoy, whether this soup is new to you or not!
Note: The transliteration provided in David Thompson’s cookbook for this soup is “Tom Jiw”. I would be more than grateful if anyone knows what this actually translates to in Thai!