Trader Vic's Tom Ka Gai Soup copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Trader Vic's Tom Ka Gai Soup

Score: 5.00. Votes: 1
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With the sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors that are traditional to Thai cuisine, tom ka gai soup is a party on your palate. It's a dish that I've been wanting to hack for years, but could not find a famous chain with a popular version. That is until recently, when Trader Vic's landed in Las Vegas at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. This upscale, worldwide Polynesian-themed chain adds eggplant to this soup where you would traditionally find straw mushrooms, and thinly julienned peppers where Thai chili peppers would usually be. Other than that the soup has the same traditional flavors of some of the best tom ka gai soups I have eagerly slurped up. For this clone you'll need to track down a couple stalks of lemongrass—a whole stalk is about a foot long. Cut each in half and get medieval on it with a kitchen mallet so the flavors are released into the soup as it cooks. Before serving the soup you may want to fish out the lemongrass and the chunks of ginger, or you may be brushing up on your Heimlich maneuver.

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
  • 1 cup diced Japanese eggplant (about 1/2 eggplant)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, each cut in half and pounded
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 strawberry-size knob of ginger, peeled and halved
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and julienned
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded and julienned
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions (green part only)
  • 6 lime wedges
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
      Trader Vic's
    • Instructions

      1. Preheat barbecue grill to high heat.

      2. Bring the chicken broth, coconut milk, eggplant, lemongrass (pound it with a kitchen mallet to release the flavors), lime juice, fish sauce, ginger, garlic, red curry paste, and coriander to a boil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

      3. As the soup simmers, pound the chicken breast fillets flat with a kitchen mallet, rub each with oil, and grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side on the hot grill. The chicken doesn't need to be entirely cooked, since it will cook more in the soup. When chicken is done, let it cool, then diced it.

      4. When the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the chicken and peppers. Be sure the peppers are julienned very thin. Continue to simmer soup for 10 minutes, and then add the green onions. To prepare soup for serving, spoon approximately 1 1/2 cups of soup into a bowl, squeeze a lime wedge into the soup, drop the lime into the bowl and serve it up.

      Makes 6 servings.
      Tidbits: Find fish sauce and red curry paste where Asian or Thai foods are stocked in your market.

Average rating:

Score: 5.00. Votes: 1
Rating of votes (1)
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Mar 8, 2008, 22:00

This is unbelievably delicious!! Never had the original, but we used straw mushrooms instead of eggplant and my husband and I loved this recipe. Found out from the asian market that we can freeze the leftover, unused lemon grass to use to make a second batch of soup.

I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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