Tom Ka is a Thai soup with coconut milk, red curry, lemon grass and is one of my most favorite soups. If you buy it at a Thai restaurant, it is usually served with white rice. What I usually do though is substitute white rice for quinoa, because, let’s be frank, plain white rice tastes bland, looks washed out and is really just a waste of calories.
In fact, whenever we order Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese, we don’t even use the white rice that comes with it any more – I usually cook some quinoa.
Quinoa has long been one of my favorite grains, because I like its taste and I much rather use quinoa than just plain white rice. Quinoa has an unusually high amount of protein (14% of its mass). It is also a good source of fiber, gluten-free and is easy to digest.
…. And, I have about 10 pounds of it in my pantry. My husband bought it in bulk some time ago as he thought the bulk price for 10 pounds of quinoa was too good to pass. Now I am stuck with a lot of quinoa in my pantry!
And by the way, this soup goes REALLY WELL with a glass of white wine.
Tom Ka – Thai soup with red curry, coconut milk, chicken, and quinoa
Prep time: 40 min
Cook time: 50 min
- 1 can coconut milk (400 mL) + 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp lemon grass (or 1 lemon grass stalk)
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 4 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 red bell pepper
- 3 green onions
- grape tomatoes, each sliced in half
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
Makes 2-3 servings.
1) For this soup I use one whole can of coconut milk (400 mL) plus 1/2 cup of coconut milk from the 2nd can. Heat coconut milk in a large pan until it boils, add chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce to medium heat, add red curry paste, lemon grass, lemon juice, fish sauce, brown sugar, stir well and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes. It should thicken slightly. Add sliced mushrooms during the last 20 minutes of cooking, add sliced bell pepper during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
2) For lemon grass, I used frozen lemon grass that is usually sold in Asian stores. You can also use 1 dried lemongrass stalk sold in most stores. If you use frozen lemon grass like I did (see the photo), it basically blends in with the soup and you eat it with the soup. But if you use a lemon grass stalk, of course, you’ll need to take it out after your soup is fully cooked.
3) Cook chicken breast or use already cooked chicken breast, slice it in medium pieces, add it to the soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Dice green onions, set aside. Prepare about 3 grape tomatoes per each serving bowl.
4) In a separate pan, add quinoa and water, bring to boil and cook quinoa for about 15 minutes on medium until quinoa is fluffy but not too soft, it should be somewhat “al dente”.
5) When soup has simmered for at least 30 minutes and mushrooms are well-cooked through, pour the soup into serving bowls, sprinkle each bowl with diced green onions. Garnish each bowl with 3 grape tomatoes (each tomatoe sliced in half). Serve quinoa in a separate bowl.