We’re pretty lucky to live in West Seattle where we have several outstanding Chinese and Thai restaurants. It’s always hard to choose which way to go for dinner so the other night we chose instead to recreate our favorite dishes from Lee’s Asian Restaurant and Buddha Ruksa. Elliott wanted to recreate a Szechuan eggplant dish from Lee’s, and while I would have LOVED to have fried up some of Buddha’s famous garlic chicken, we opted for the easier Tom Kha soup.
Tom Kha is an easy soup to whip up in no time and hits all the right taste buds – it’s spicy, aromatic, creamy and acidic all at the same time. Depending on your mood you can throw in some chicken, shrimp, or tofu.
Tom Kha Soup:
4 cups chicken broth
3 kaffir lime leaves, hand torn
2 -3 small dried Thai chiles, crushed
3-4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
1 piece galangal
1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), cracked open with the flat side of a knife
1 can coconut milk
8-10 button mushrooms, thick slices
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
12 shrimp, deveined
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lime leaves, chiles, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Lower the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and gently simmer to let the spices infuse the broth, about 10 minutes.
Uncover the pot and stir in the coconut milk, mushrooms, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Simmer until heated through. Add the shrimp and cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon a small mound of cooked rice to the bottom of a bowl and cover with the soup. Garnish with the cilantro. Note: you can remove the lime leaves, ginger, galangal, and lemongrass before serving or take out as you’re eating.
1 eggplant, large slices
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup corn starch
1 1/2 tbsp. minced peeled ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. dry crushed red pepper
1/2 cup canned low sodium chicken broth
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp. tamari
1 tbsp. asian chili-garlic sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. sugar
Slice the eggplant and season with salt to draw out excess moisture. Pat dry. Dust with some corn starch, the beaten egg, and finally the panko crumbs. Fry in a hot skillet at approximately 375˚, until golden. Place in a 200˚ oven until ready to serve to help cook the eggplant through. Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan. Once the sauce has reduced a bit, add the cornstarch and stir until thickened. Top some cooked rice with the fried eggplant and szechuan sauce.