Chicken in Coconut Milk

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Ingredients:

2 cups (16 oz/500mL) coconut cream
1 cup (8 oz/125 mL) coconut milk
2 stalks lemongrass, white part only, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
˝-inch (12 mm) pieces galangal, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped shallots (French shallots), preferably pink
10-15 small fresh chilies, halved lengthwise
1 cup (4 oz/125 g) canned or 2 cups (8 oz/250 g) fresh straw mushrooms, rinsed, drained and halved
12 oz (375 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
3 kaffir lime leaves, stemmed
˝ cup (˝ oz/15 g) coarsely chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 scallions (green onions), chopped

Preparation:

1. In a wok or large saucepan over high heat, combine coconut cream, coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, shallots, chilies, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

2. Add chicken, stirring well. Add fish sauce and lime leaves. Return to a boil. Add half the cilantro and turn off heat.

3. Stir in lime juice. Transfer to bowls for serving, garnish with scallions and remaining cilantro, and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Hint: For a less rich soup, replace the coconut cream with an equal quantity of coconut milk. For a less spicy broth, keep the chilies whole.

Note: This is one of Thailand's best-known soups, with a creamy consistency and a lovely lemony flavor. The fibrous ingredients in this soup -- kaffir lime leaf, galangal, and lemongrass -- are not eaten. Just push them aside.