This spicy Thai soup is one of my favorites on a chilly day. And since there's snow on the ground and I had all the ingredients on hand, it was the perfect lunch! It's spicy, sweet, savory and fresh - a perfect balance of flavors any time of the year. And one my husband and I particularly crave in the winter.
From start to finish, the soup only takes about 30 minutes. It's definitely best with homemade chicken stock - I like to make mine with ginger, lemongrass and star anise. But in the words of Ina Garten, if you don't want to make it yourself, "Store-bought is fine."
You can make this up to a day ahead - just wait to add the coconut milk and spinach right before serving.
Tom Kha Gai with Butternut Squash and Spinach
4 cups chicken stock
1 stalk lemongrass
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1/2 pound chicken breast
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1/2 cup canned bamboo shoots
1 14-ounce can coconut milk (full-fat)
4 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges
Place the chicken stock, lemongrass, lime leaves, curry paste, fish sauce and sweet chili sauce in a soup pot.
Bring to a simmer and add the chicken.
Simmer the chicken until it is cooked through. Remove from the pot and let cool. Once cool, shred and set aside.
Add the butternut squash and bamboo shoots to the pot. Simmer just until the squash is fork tender.
Once the squash is tender, add the chicken back to the pot.
Add the coconut milk and cook just until hot.
Turn off the heat and taste. Add more fish sauce as needed.
Add the spinach to the pot just before serving. Stir into the hot soup to wilt.
Serve the soup with lime wedges to squeeze into the hot soup