When I visit my local Thai market, I like to purchase extra quantities of herbs and store them for future use. Here are some examples:
- Galangal looks kinda like ginger. Its fibers are denser, making it harder to grate. It’s usually found refrigerated in a large tub of water. Once I get home with it, I will slice it into semi-thick slices, wrap them in plastic wrap in usable portions, and then throw them into a Ziploc bag in the freezer. They keep almost forever that way.
- Lemon grass can usually be found in any well-stocked supermarket, making it easy enough to pick up any time I need it. However, if there is a particularly fresh looking batch, I’ll purchase a lot. They freeze beautifully. I recommend trimming before freezing.
- Kaffir lime leaves (aka makrut) also freeze beautifully. I bought my own tree, but it’s not mature enough to give many leaves. Luckily mom brought down a gallon-sized Ziploc bag this last summer. I just threw them all in my freezer.
- Chilies also freeze well. I just throw them in the freezer whole and grab as many as I need.
- Coriander roots are hard to find, even at my local Asian markets. I grew some last year just to harvest the roots, but that wasn’t enough for more than 2 or 3 dishes. When I find it at the Thai store, I will buy every last bunch. Amazingly they can be frozen! Cut them with about 2 inches of stem attached and clean them well. Dry them well before freezing, otherwise they will get freezer burn. I also like to press them into that special blue freezer wrap by GLAD to keep out extra air. A proper food sealer would be even better (Hubby, this is a hint to you, if you are reading).
Tom Kha Gai
- 1 x 14 oz can regular or lite coconut milk
- 2 stalks lemon grass, whites only, slightly crushed
- 2 inch x 2-inch piece of galangal, cut into thick slices
- 4 or 5 Asian shallots, peeled and cut in half (or 1 large French shallot in wedges)
- 10 kaffir lime leaves, crushed between your fingers to release aroma
- Thai chilies to taste, cut lengthwise
- 3 ½ cups chicken stock (or two 14 oz canned broth, low sodium recommended)
- 2-3 tbs fish sauce, more taste
- 1 to 2 tbs brown sugar, to taste
- 3 to 4 tbs fresh lime juice, more to taste
- oyster mushrooms, shredded (about ½ cup to 1 cup)
- 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and cut into thin wedges (optional)
- meat from 3 or 4 chicken thighs (or two breasts), sliced
- cilantro for garnishing