Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

This version of the Thai soup known as tom kha gai has been adapted for those of us who shop in Western grocery stores.  The only ingredient that might be difficult to get is lemongrass, although a substitution using lemon rind is noted.  Be sure to use only the lemon and lime peel with as little of the white pith as possible. The pith is bitter and will give the soup an off-taste.  I like to add additional veggies like the baby corn pictured above.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
From The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen
Serves 5-6 as an appetizer

1 lb boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
2 Tblsp brown sugar
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
3 cups chicken broth (check for gluten)
2 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4" only, smashed (or zest of 1 lemon in long strips)
1 (3") piece ginger, cut diagonally into 6 slices and smashed
Zest of 1 lime, in long strips
3 cups coconut milk (about 2 15-oz cans)
6 oz mushrooms, quartered  (I use baby bella)
1/4 cup lime juice
2 red jalapeno chilis, thinly sliced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

In a medium bowl, combine the cubed chicken with the brown sugar and fish sauce. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth, lemon grass, ginger and lime zest to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and mushrooms and bring the soup back to a boil.

Stir in the chicken and its marinade and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice, jalapenos and cilantro.  Serve with cooked rice on the side.