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Postpartum Recipe: Tom Kha Gai

By Doula Jen

If you are well acquainted with Welcome Baby Care—our blog, our Pinterest, our doulas—you already know that we champion soup as the perfect postpartum food.  This week we’re spicing it up with a wonderfully soothing and beneficial Thai recipe—Tom Kha Gai.

Let’s talk about why this dish is so great for postpartum recovery.  First off, the chicken stock and coconut milk are natural immune boosters.  This is the old chicken soup as penicillin line of thought.  Boosting the immune system after giving birth is particularly important because in those first few weeks, many women already feel depleted.  A sudden cold or flu is more than a nuisance while caring for a newborn.  It is disaster.

Beyond keeping the germs at bay, this soup supports new mamas in other ways as well.  Lemongrass is an anti-fungal and antibacterial, helping ward off post-birth infection.  Ginger:  good for indigestion, which can be common as the organs shift back into place after pregnancy.  Coriander is an anti-inflammatory, aiding in involution and swelling of the perineum.  Chili peppers aid in circulation, helping to keep our new mother warm.  Good circulation also helps prevent blood clots.

Need I say more?  Give it a try.  It is soooo tasty.  I like to eat it with a side of brown or jasmine basmati rice, dropping spoonfuls of the rice into the center of the bowl.  Enjoy!

The exotic ingredients are easy to find online—even at Amazon—or at local co-ops and Asian markets.  This version of the recipe makes about 4 bowls, which you may very likely eat yourself in one sitting!  You can double it or add chicken stock to get more volume.  Feel free to play with this recipe, fine tuning it to your own needs.

You will need:

2 chicken breast, diced

1¼ cup coconut milk

1 cup sliced mushrooms, any variety

1 lemongrass, cut and lightly crushed

6 pieces galangal, thinly sliced (Thai ginger)

4 kaffir lime leaves

2 tsp. coriander

½ cup chopped scallions (white onion works too)

5 crushed guinea peppers

2 Tbsp fish sauce (this soup does not taste fishy…promise.)

½ tsp salt

5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

cilantro leaves for end garnish

optional:  brown or jasmine basmati rice

  1. Boil coconut milk and keep stirring until you see the milk’s oil surface.
  2. Add galangal and lemongrass.  Stir.
  3. Add chicken breast to boiling liquid.  Reduce to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Add peppers, fish sauce, scallions, and coriander.
  5. Just as you’re about to serve, add lemon juice and dress with cilantro.




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