Some people think that Thai cuisine is not vegetarian friendly. I do agree that most of Thai dishes are non-vegetarian and many are impossible to make to a vegetarian version. My husband loves vegetarian food. Someday he really doesn’t want to eat any meat. I also believe that by adapting recipes to vegetarian version the meal is lighter and healthier.
“Tom Kha Khai” or chicken in creamy coconut with galangal curry is one of Thailand’s specialties and famous dishes
My husband helps me realize without chicken, Tom Kha Mushroom can just give you the same pleasure.
I use fresh coconut in this recipe. Fresh coconut milk and cream can be easily made at home. They make the curry taste richer and give more authentic feel to it. You can use coconut cream from the can, it is easy to find and easy to handle, but whenever you get a hold of fresh coconut, don’t forget to try this.
How to make coconut cream and coconut milk:
Halve the coconut and grate the fresh coconut out of the shell.
Add the grated coconut in the blender and add about 1 cup of warm water. Blend for 1 minute and strain the cream out through the fine strainer. Squeeze to get all cream out of the coconut. This first pressing yields about 1 1/2 cup of thick cream.
From the same grated coconut, add 1 1/2 cup of warm water and start blending again for 2 minutes then you can extract the remaining milk. This process yields about 1 1/2 cup of thinner milk.
Tom Kha Mushroom
Ingredients: (4 servings)
200 gm button mushroom- sliced
2 green chilis
1 tbsp Tom Kha Paste (See note below)
5-6 pieces dried galangal- fresh even better (omit this if you don’t have, when you use Tom Kha paste it will be good enough)
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cup coconut cream
A bunch of fresh celery leaves- chopped
1 tomato- quartered
1 tsp Salt or to taste
Heat coconut milk in a medium pot over the medium heat.
When it is boiling add “Tom Kha paste”, dried galangal and salt, and stir well.
Add mushroom and cook for a few minutes.
Add tomato and cook for few minutes or until the mushroom is perfectly cooked.
Add coconut cream and cook further in the low heat for a little while. Do not let the curry boiled as the coconut cream will become curded.
Check for seasoning and sprinkle some chopped celery leaves and whole fresh chilis for garnish.
The best way to serve this delicious creamy curry is with steamy hot rice, but I find it interesting that it is serving as soup in the beginning of the meal in western country. Whichever ways you may like to try this…. I know you will enjoy it.
Note: Tom Kha Paste
2 tbsp chopped lemongrass
8 tbsp chopped galangal (I use 10 dried galangal soaked in warm water for 15 minutes)
8 cloves garlic
10 coriander root & stem- chopped
5 red chilies- minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oil
Place all ingredients in the food processer and grind to smooth paste. It can be stored in refrigerator up to one month.