Who doesn’t love Tom Yum Goong, the spicy Thai soup made with shrimp, lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, and several other exotic ingredients?
Coconut Milk Soup with Lime and Chicken is similar yet dissimilar to Tom Yum Goong, or – as the Thais would say – same same, but different!
The most obvious difference is that Tom Yum Goong is made with prawns (tom means to boil, yum means salad, and goong means prawns).
Coconut Milk Soup with Lime and Chicken, as the name suggests, is made with both coconut milk and chicken.
Tom Yung Goong generally has neither coconut milk nor chicken.
The soup does have lemongrass, however, whereas Galangal Coconut Milk Soup with Lime and Chicken does not.
Many of the other ingredients, however, are the same such as coriander root, shallots, and Kaffir lime leaves.
Both soups have galangal, which appears to be similar to ginger, but don’t think you can just substitute ginger whenever galangal isn’t available.
Both are root vegetables, but ginger adds heat whereas galangal has a cooling effect on a recipe.
Coconut Milk Soup with Lime and Chicken is milder, richer, and creamier than Tom Yung Goong.
I found it very refreshing. The longer it simmered, the better it got. I share a recipe, which can easily be followed by home cooks, below.
I recently attended a Thai cooking class at Shama Tsim Shat Tsui, Hong Kong.
The teacher’s name was Joanna Em-On Fu, founder and head chef of Queen’s Kitchen.
Joanna’s recipe for Coconut Milk Soup with Lime and Chicken follows – with a few minor alterations.
Galangal Coconut Milk Soup with Lime and Chicken
- 1 cup chopped chicken thigh or breast
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms
- A few sliced carrots
- 3 tablespoons sliced, mashed galangal
- 1 piece coriander root
- 2 shopped shallots
- 6 teaspoons Kaffir lime leaves (stems removed and finely sliced)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 dried chilies
- 2 small red chilies, sliced
- 1.5 tablespoons palm sugar
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 250 ml coconut milk
- 625 ml water
- A few pieces of coriander (for garnish)
- Boil water in a large pot over medium heat
- Add chicken, fish sauce, Kaffir lime leaves, coriander root, galangal, carrot, shallots, and palm sugar. Cook about 5 minutes
- Lower heat and add chilies, dried chili, coconut milk, fresh mushroom, and lime juice. Stir well.
- Adjust fish sauce, lime juice, and palm sugar to taste.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and top with coriander for garnish.
When Thai cooks prepare Tom Yung Goong, they often leave prawns in their shells and add pieces of lemongrass and Kaffir leaves to each bowl when the soup is served.
They are considered to be a kind of garnish.
By the same token, when preparing Coconut Milk Soup with Lime and Chicken, many Thai chefs will generally add lime leaves and pieces of coriander root and galangal in each bowl, as well.
Many Western diners, however, prefer to have these "non-edible" bits and pieces removed from the soup before it is served.
I would suggest pouring the soup through a sieve to remove these bits at some stage during the cooking process.
Joanna Em-On Fu is the founder and head chef of Queen’s Kitchen.
Originally from Bangkok, Thailand, Joanna is a second generation Thai-born Chinese.
Now that her children are grown, Joanna is on a mission to share her passion for authentic yet healthful cuisine with others.
Located on Canton Road, one of Kowloon's most popular shopping strips, Queen’s Kitchen offers several classes in Thai cookery, an appreciation class, and a nutrition class.
Queen's Kitchen also offers catering services for corporate events and private parties for up to 30 participants.
Located in the heart of Kowloon's Golden Mile, Shama Tsim Sha Tsui has 87 contemporary rooms, ranging from stuido apartments to two bedroom flats.
Each unit at the property has a well-equipped kitchen.
There is a rooftop garden, where herbs and vegetables are grown. Guests staying at the property are welcome to source them for use in their kitchens.
Events – such as the cooking lesson I attended – can also be held in the rooftop garden.
“Shama has a ‘no boundaries’ programme for its tenants,” says Yvonna Law – Manager, Communications, ONYX Hospitality Group (North Asia).
"This is an exclusive lifestyle programme granting everything from a neighborhood tour to familiarize them with the local culture, lifestyle venues, and amenities in the neighbourhood, recommendations for the hidden gems in the area that span all aspects of living, and tenant activities within the friendly community."
The cooking demonstration was organized to celebrate the harvesting of herbs and to demonstrate to guests what they could do with them.
"At Shama, tenants are encouraged to pick herbs anytime to cook using the well-equipped kitchenettes in their own apartments," Yvonna says.
More than 20 tenants staying at the property were invited to attend the event.
Among the harvested crops were mint, lemongrass, chilies, and lemons, which were used in the three recipes that Joanna demonstrated.
The other two were Thai Pork Salad and Lime Mint Soda.
Shama Tsim Sha Tsui is one of five Shama serviced apartments in Hong Kong. It is the only one located on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour.
There are four Shama serviced apartments on Hong Kong Island, including one each in Central, Fortress Hill, Hollywood Road, and the Mid-Levels.
There are currently four Shama properties in China, including one in Hangzhou and three in Shanghai.
There are also two Shama properties in Thailand: one in Bangkok and one in Chiang Mai, for a total of 19 serviced apartments across the Asia Pacific.
“The activity that you joined is one of the tenant activities that we regularly organize,” Yvonna says.
Other tenant activities include charity sales, visits to farmer's markets, potluck parties, sports days, fitness classes, and cultural immersion.
Such activities are organized on a regular basis across Shama's properties in Bangkok, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
Based in Thailand, Shama is a member of the Onyx Hospitality Group. Other Onyx brands include Amari, Breeze, Mosaic, Oriental Residences, Ozo, and Saffron.
Shama Tsim Sha Tsui, 15th floor, 74-78 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone: (852) 3513-0088.
Queen’s Kitchen, 16th floor, VIP Commercial Centre, 116-120 Canton Road, Tim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone:(852) 2992-0111.