January 30th, 2006


seafood version of Tom Ka Gai soup

I make a really good Tom Ka Gai that usually puts the local Thai resturants to shame. It's a really easy soup to put together and is pretty cheap. I wanted to make a seafood version and I was at the Super 88 and I saw the crab tanks *dun dun dunnnnn*

The thing that really got me was the price of the live rock crabs, $2/lb. A buck a crab! Then I saw the scallops. A bit pricer at $8/lb but they were 1/4 lb each. Rounding it out were a bunch of shrimp with the heads on. I found a big knob of galangal (blue ginger) some lemongrass, green onions, and some insanely plump shitaki mushrooms.

Since I was making a seafood version I didn't want to start with chicken stock like I normally do so I made shrimp stock with the shells. I fried onions and carrots with the shells in some oil. With that was a spoonful of garlic Sambal and some homemade old-bay. The sweetness of the sambal and paprika gave it a really good deep color, so much so that I needed to degaze with some brandy before adding the rest of the water and some nam pla (fish sauce). I pressure cooked it on high pressure for around 5 minutes and left it to come down naturally. I opened up the cooker, put the crabs in *bwa ha ha*, and cooked it under high pressure for another 5 minutes. After letting it come down I took out the crabs and ripped off the legs and put them in cold water to keep them from over cooking. I used kitchen shears to open up the bodies and clean them. The livers and the meat around the livers were saved for the soup as well as the juice. The body meat in the clusters was too much a pain to get out so I cut them in half and reserved for the soup. I took the meat out the main claws as well.

Building the soup went really quick after that. I strained to stock and to that I added a bunch of sliced galangal, two stalks of lemongrass cut and bruised, a bunch of sliced shitaki mushrooms, a can* of coconut milk and a bit more nam pla to get the saltiness right. After letting it cook for 15 minutes (shitaki take 20 to cook) I added the scallops, shimp and crab back in along with the green onions. 5 minutes later and it was soup.

* I normally use two but this one was half creme!