PALEO | WHOLE30 | DAIRY-FREE
Time from start to finish: 45 minutes
Difficulty level: easy peasy
I’ve lived in Nashville for almost five years now, and I swear — every time the snow falls, it’s declared a “snowpocalypse.” At this point, I’m a snowpocalypse pro. I have a whole routine: wake up, make pancakes, wear pjs until at least noon, take inventory of the fridge for meal ingredients, attempt to walk to a (inevitably, closed) grocery store, walk back feeling sick of the cold, decide to stay inside all day, eventually make cookies.
Today, I’ve added a new agenda item: make tom kha gai soup.
[insert epic soup meme]
For the success of this dish, I’d like to thank my pantry, fridge, and essential oil collection. What?
There was some bone broth in the fridge, and a couple cans of coconut milk in the pantry. In a moment of Girl Scout-like resourcefulness, I realized that I could use lemongrass essential oil to create a Thai flavor… why hello there, tom kha gai.
On a normal day, I would’ve gone to Whole Foods to buy a stalk of lemongrass. But it’s like… really cold outside. Essential oils to the rescue!
This soup uses a few fragrant ingredients to create a complex, yet comforting flavor. It’s vibrant from the ginger and lemongrass, creamy from the coconut milk, and deliciously savory from the fish sauce. Enjoy.
- 3 cups chicken stock or homemade bone broth
- 2 tbsp fish sauce [Paleo approved fish sauce: Red Boat Fish Sauce]
- juice of 1 lime
- 1/2-1 fresh jalapeno, sliced
- 1 stalk of lemongrass or 4 drops food-grade lemongrass essential oil
- 1 large piece (4″+) of ginger, sliced thin
- 2 cans coconut milk (full-fat)
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed or 1/2 lb. chicken breast, cubed and 1/2 lb. large shrimp, butterflied
- sliced fresh jalapeno, to garnish
- cilantro, to garnish
- basil, to garnish
- Combine all broth ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for about 40 minutes (to allow flavors to combine).
- Bring the heat up slightly to a low-medium heat, and add the coconut milk and simmer for about 5 minutes (if using a stalk of lemongrass, remove it here).
- Add the chicken and shrimp (staying at low-medium heat), and heat until both are cooked through.
- …..That’s it. Serve immediately with chopped basil and cilantro and sliced jalapeno, or pour into Pyrex containers for later.
This recipe is also great with some veggie action: Add sliced mushrooms and thinly sliced red pepper when you add the coconut milk. For a heartier meal, you can also serve it over basmati rice.
PS — If you love the flavor of lemongrass, investing in a bottle of lemongrass essential oil might not be a bad idea. I recommend doTerra brand. It adds a lovely flavor (not to mention detoxifying benefits) to soups, curries, sauces, and more. Lemongrass essential oil is also a great deodorizer – use it in a water diffuser to get rid of pesky kitchen smells! Fun fact: lemongrass is also a natural insect repellent. Who knew?