At the Lao Cook Kitchens, we all enjoy a nice soup, especially Dtom Kha or Dtom Yum. When I was younger, I had mistranslated Dtom Kha Gai for “Boiled Chicken Leg” on one of my Father´s menus, instead of calling it “Boiled Galangal & Chicken (soup)”.
Lately, I have been working on a New Style of Dtom Kha, and decided to omit the Chicken in favor of some Mushrooms and Broad Beans (Fava Beans), I love Beans, especially fresh ones. We are lucky to get a good supply of organic beans, that we shell and blanch briefly before giving them an Ice Bath, this method retains the glorious colour and ensures that the beans are not over cooked.
I have been experimenting with different types of Mushrooms and have found that Fresh Shiitake gives a nice balance of flavour as well as “Oyster-like” texture.
A good Chicken Stock is also needed, and I always use Double Boiled Chicken Stock, it gives the soup more “body”. I don’t add a lot of Coconut Milk, as I want the finished dish to be light, and the soup is strained before being used. When drinking the New Style Dtom Kha, the wispy head quickly gives way to the warm soup, which is both flavoursome yet gentle, as you get to the bottom of the soup, the slivers of Mushroom are introduced (they are lighter than the beans) with their slippery texture, when you reach the end, you will find the “al dente” beans.
New Style “Dtom Kha”, you can see the Beans through the milky texture of the soup, if you look carefully, you can also see the Mushrooms resting above. To make the Frothy Head, use a handheld food mixer, spoon the bubbles carefully on top of the soup and serve immediately.