Those of you who love cooking will for sure know that not always cooking goes the way you want it to go, or that the out come for some reason or another is not what you have expected. Or it is simply just hell in the kitchen because the kitchen looks like what you would think a hell could look like and if not it will become hell when you attempt to clean it all up.
Well I experienced something like hell when attempting to cook Thom Kha Gai, thai chicken coconut soup. I once visited a restauran and I ordered this soup and surprisingly it good. Why surprisingly? Because the description put together ingredients that I would never imagine coul go together like limens, coconut chilli and chicken and others. It was sweet from the cococnut milk but also spicy from the chilli and with slight hint of lime in taste and smell.
When I got home I could not for the life of me remember the name but I knew that if I found it on internet I would for sure know that it was “the soup” I was looking for. And really I did find it nad the picture in the article going with the recipe was also really helpful – although I must say mine looked nothing like theirs, it looked nothing like theirs in pot or soup bowl.
But I was brave enough to try my luck since I like it so I got together all the ingredients needed: kafir lime leaves, coconut milk, chicken, ginger, broth, fish sauce,sugar, chilli oil and started to cook.
At least everything was really good and everything seemed normal although as I said it did look nothing like theirs but I was ok with that for the time being – after all everything was still just merrily swimming in the big pot and some food loooks different when put on plat or into bowl since you can play with it and make it look pretty. And frankly the recipe looked really easy and was really short and the cooking time was supposed to be a little over 30 mins – so what could possibly go wrong right even for a begginer in thai cuisine like me?
But I did not realise that everything can go wrong as soon as my luck leaves me – that is the moment when I misread the recipe and added the chilli oil into the boiling soup instead of waiting for when it is served and add a few drops of it into each bowl. You might be asking what is wrong with that? Adding a few drops into the pot of soup can not be that bad right? Well it can when there is what I saw as almost ton of coconut milk which tastes sweet. I added a little of the chilli oil and let it cook for a minute tasted it and… nothing. Not even a tiniest hint of chillin in the bloody soup – which is what I expected, a hint of chilli. So I added more, mixed and let cook for another minute and then tasted and… again nothing. I did this for a few times – well few is a bit of an understatment in my case.
But after a while I got where I wanted to be and where I thought I was supposed to be – that is to having a pot filled with coconut chicken soup which had a hint of lime ( in taste and smell) as well as hint of chilli in the taste. SO far so good and I have to say I was quite proud the soup came close to the one I had in the restaurant, at least in taste – at least I thought so.
But I was preparing it for the lunch next day. So I put it into a fridge and the next day took it out, put it on the cooker and started to cook it so would be hot. And that is where all turned hell. When I tasted it it did not taste anything like the soup I cooked the day before that and not at all as the soup I had in the restaurant. You see what I completely forgot about was that the taste of chilli often gets stronger with time – and really it did get stronger. Actually it was so strong that I felt like there is hot acid drippping down my throat and meltin my intestines.
So the day before I made quite a bit of a mess in our smallish kitchen – which I had to clean ( and I hate cleaning, it takes longer than cooking even in small space like our kitchen and especially if I am cleaning it) – only to ended up with soup no one could or would be brave enough to eat – which also meant no lunch at least until I made something else – and the amount of said soup would be enough for regiment to eat (if they were brave enough)or at least use as weapon of mass destruction ( and I can guarantee that every enemy would be frightened because really I think it would melt anything like some acid).
But there is one thing I learned – which is when I am cooking how ever excited I am I should read everything slowly and carefully and pay attention because else I will again end up with disaster instead of edible food.
And for you there is a link bellow if you want to have a go at it and try if you will be luckier or more concentrated on corretly reading the recipe – please do read the recipe it is not hard unless you mess up like me so please read carefully and do not be afraid to try it.
Let me know how your soup turned out 🙂
Thom Kha Gai – http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/tom-kha-gai-chicken-coconut-soup