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Tom, Who?

Sept 4, 2020
Tom Kha Gai with Chicken Meatballs
Pg. 89
Addison, Season 4 (Winner!)
35 down…64 to go!

Let’s start with the spelling of this dish: The cookbook spells it as Tom Ka Gai, but when I googled that, everything came up as Tom Kha Gai. I think I’m gonna go with the nearly 2.5 million results Google pulled up. Sorry to the editors of the MasterChef Junior Cookbook.

Secondly, let’s discuss what Tom Kha Gai is: Tom Kha Gai, or Thai coconut soup, is a spicy and sour hot soup with coconut milk that is popular in Thai cuisine. I had no clue what this was, what it was gonna taste like, or even how to pronounce/spell it before today. But now, I’m thankful to have this spicy, comforting, and delicious meal in my arsenal as we head towards the cooler months of the year (yay!).

Now, let’s talk about the different components of the meal: The recipe instructed me to make the rice, the base of the dish, with a splash of rose water. This was my first time cooking with and tasting rose water. Confession: I don’t get why anyone would ever drink or cook with that. Have you tried it? It literally tastes like you took old roses out of a vase and drank their water. Thankfully, it didn’t majorly affect the taste of the rice.

The soup and veggies were incredibly simple and easy to make while still being packed with flavor! This portion of the recipe also included a few more firsts for me: oyster mushrooms, red curry paste, and baby bok choy (I’ve eaten this ingredient, but never cooked it myself). Next time, I will go a little easier on the red curry paste because me and my sweetheart were sweatin’ a little bit while eating dinner.

The chicken meatballs were good, but next time I would make them all small to cook faster and more thoroughly. My sweetheart helped me make them and he made the call to make four big and two small (not pictured) so there wasn’t an uneven number and we could each have three, bless his heart. I found it interesting that the recipe called to make them with ground corn nuts. I have made turkey and beef meatballs several times before but I’ve never made chicken meatballs and I’ve never used corn nuts in any of the recipes. In fact, I don’t think I’ve eaten corn nuts since I was in summer camp as a kid. No lie, I enjoyed getting to snack on the leftover corn nuts!

Overall, this was a very yummy and unique meal that I enjoyed making almost as much as I enjoyed eating. If you wanna give it a try, here’s a link to the recipe: https://blog.williams-sonoma.com/masterchef-junior-cookbook-recipes/

What did I do differently?

  • The soup called for makrut lime leaves. I couldn’t find them on short notice, so I had to skip that, unfortunately. For reference, here’s what that is: “Citrus hystrix, called the kaffir lime, makrut lime, Thai lime or Mauritius papeda, is a citrus fruit native to tropical Southeast Asia and southern China. Its fruit and leaves are used in Southeast Asian cuisine and its essential oil is used in perfumery. Its rind and crushed leaves emit an intense citrus fragrance.” (Thanks, Wikipedia)
  • I sautéed some minced ginger and scallion whites before adding the rice and water. If you don’t add aromatics to your stove top rice already, I highly recommend it.
  • I garnished the dish with sliced green onions, in addition to the lime zest it suggested. I’m always looking to add more onions and/or more garnishes to my meals.

All my love,
Dani, a big tid

P.S. I never really eat Thai food, but this has got me convinced I need to try some more (authentic) dishes. What should I try next? Let me know in the comments.

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  1. If you’re a fan of spicy soup that has a ton of flavor then this is the one! Highly recommend

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