Comments: Tom Kha Tofu - Thai Coconut Citrus Soup


Where did you get galanga root? We've been meaning to make this soup as well, and our half-hearted search for galanga is so far fruitless (leafless?).

This particular time, I found galanga thinly sliced and frozen in a small Thai supermarket in Chicago on Kedzie near the Brown Line stop, but in the past, I have found it consistently fresh in the Asian markets on Argyle.

I'm not sure where you are, but you might try the Chinatown area (or better, the Little Saigon area if you have one) in your town.

Oh hey, Seth I see you're in Chicago. Go to the Kedzie stop of the Brown line and walk across the street to the building at the northeast side of the crossing. The building always looks like it's closed, but if you go to the north side of the building there's a door you can go in.

A nice Thai couple run the place and if you ask, she'll get you kaffir lime leaves, galanga, and lemongrass.

Barrett's got some gunga-galanga. So, he's got that going for him... Which is nice.

I have to confess that I fall directly on the hate coconut side of the street, but the other ingredients sound pretty dang good. Was it better with chicken in the old days? Or did the tofu really substitute well? That's for us non-veggies out there.

The chicken was always very nice, but I liked the tofu. It's hard for me to judge because I don't think chicken smells good anymore.

Probably it'd be better with chicken for you chicken eaters and better with tofu for us tofu-eaters.

I love Tom Kha Kai - it's my test dish to determine if a Thai restaurant is worth visiting a second time. When make it at home, I use a little mesh string bag to contain the inedible bits. Barrett, I think I bought the package of them at Sherwyn's on Belmont.

A package of inedible bits? How much does that go for? I think I can get some of that off the living room carpet if I need to, but if it's a special kind, I'll pony up.

I'm glad you pointed out the strainer part again. I would probably have left them in. That would have detracted from the experience, I imagine.

I'm with Meg--that is the dish that I judge Thai restaurants by.

I love to make it, too!

Wow. This is cruel! Mentioning Penny's. One of my favorite lunch spots when I lived in Chicago. I described it to others as Americanized Noodle Thai. Now if you can come up with Chicken Lad Nar that's anywhere near Penny's I'll be in heaven.

Walking home from my office at Sheffield and Belmont to my house on Eddy took me right by Penny's. Having some Lad Nar and Pad Se Eu under my arm when I got home was common.

I've got to go find the stuff to make this soup now. THANKS!

Thanks for the advice on where to score. I'll check it out, because now I am really craving some nourishing Tom Kha Kai (not from Penny's, but that's just me).
I also don't recall seeing anything at Sherwyn's, but I could be blinded by the vitamins or something.

Seth, combine the trip for the galanga on Kedzie with a meal at one of the Lebanese/Persian restaurants in the area. I had the best baba ghanoush I've ever had at a place just north of the stop on the west side of the street.

We went to a Thai place for lunch today and I have to say they failed on the Tom Kha Kai test. (I knew not to order when they said it was mild enough for my 11 year old English stepdaughter to eat...) However there was an intriguing ingredient in the green curry (very good) that I have never seen before: about the size of a large cherry tomato, cream/white/light green colored and with the texture of a fig. It had a slightly nutty flavor, not sweet like a fig. Can anyone enlighten me as to what on earth it was?

Meg is it at all possible that was a little Thai eggplant? They come in green and white and have that heavily seeded fig aspect.

Thanks for the recipe - I actually used my own recipe (similar, but with ginger, shallot, and 2 dried-deseeded red peppers and a little less prep without the garlic&mustard) but I was looking for info on how to cook the tofu for this soup since I'm not vegetarian (but a friend of mine is). I ended up baking the tofu for 15 minutes and then fried the tofu for a minute with the ginger and shallot (the way I would have fried the chicken) and it worked well. Thanks again!

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