Backcountry Asian Cooking
— Thai —
Tom Ka Gai
by Harvey Halpern

Dry Bag:

6 sticks of Dried Tofu crumbled
6 Dried Black Mushrooms
1 tbl. Dried Lily Bulbs
1–1.5 cups Dried Diced Tomatoes

Wet Bag:

2 tsp. Fried Red Onion
2 tsp. Fried Garlic
2 tsp. Fried Shallots

Other Ingredients:

3 packets Dried Coconut Milk
1.5–2 packets Tam Ka Paste — Lobo Brand 1.75 oz. approx. 60¢
6 oz. can of Chicken
½ cup Dry Roasted Peanuts
2 packages Ramen
1 cup Dried Roasted Green Peas
1 tbl. Dried Tomato Flakes
1–2 tsp. Fish Sauce to taste


Same routine as before except that since Tom Ka Gai is a soup, use 6 cups of water.

Instead of starting this meal with a soup, I usually make Tabouli or Som Tum (see recipe). I use Fantastic Foods brand of Tabouli and follow their directions except that I add 2–4 oz. of a Red Wine/Good Olive Oil mixture.

Add the Coconut Milk early on as it’s a bit of work to get that much to go into mixture. Once boiling, add the Chicken and Tom Ka Paste, then the Ramen and Peanuts.

This is a very pungent tasting dish, not hot but piquant with the taste of lime and galanga, a root that’s somewhat similar to ginger, which are the key ingredients of Tom Ka paste. If it’s your first time out with a group with conservative palettes, try 1 packet of the paste.

Add the Green Peas and the Fish Sauce last.

This is my favorite dish of all.

© 2008 Harvey Halpern