Tom Kha Gai - Thai Coconut Soup
Updated: May 27
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Many families have a go-to soup recipe. The go-to recipe in our home is Tom Kha Gai or Thai Coconut Chicken Soup.
Not only is this Thai chicken soup absolutely delicious, but it can be made very quickly and there is really no special skill required to make it. There are no fancy kitchen tools needed, nor any whisking or pureeing of any sort. It’s just a dump-it-in-and-cook-it type of recipe.
When I am short on time, this is precisely my kind of cooking. If you are a fan of Thai food or are just in the mood to try something tangy and delicious, this is a soup that does not disappoint.
This soup is also a nutritional powerhouse. My version varies from the traditional because I use a nourishing homemade bone broth for the base. It is also infused with galangal and lemongrass. Galangal is a wonderfully pungent rhizome related to ginger family. Lemongrass is fragrant and lends a tangy flavor. They both have amazing benefits! In fact, I want to say that this soup has contributed to our family being cold-free for some time now.
Here are some of the reasons why:
Benefits of Galangal
Helps relieve stomach discomfort due to inflammation (1)
Promotes Blood Circulation
Helps relieve diarrhea
Helps reduce free radicals
Increases sperm motility (2)
Benefits of Lemongrass
Helps body maintain healthy blood sugar levels
Promotes blood circulation
Good source of antioxidants and flavonoids
Help support body to heal respiratory disorders
Might lower cholesterol
Let’s get cooking!
2 chicken breasts (use pre-cooked chicken to save time)
1000 ml coconut milk (or 4 cups)
2-3 kaffir lime leaves (these can be dried or fresh. See Recipes Notes for substitution)
2 Tbsp lemongrass (or 5 grams) (freshly cut)
1-2 in. fresh galangal (or to taste) (cut into thin slices)
2-3 cups homemade bone broth or stock
1 Tbsp quality fish sauce (or 15 ml)
1 large red pepper
1 cup frozen peas
fresh cilantro (for garnish)
1 cup mushrooms (fresh sliced)
2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
red chili pepper paste (or fresh chili pepper - optional)
salt (to taste)
Bring the bone broth in the pot to medium heat.
Add the fresh galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
While the broth is cooking, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and then add to the broth.
Add the fish sauce and mushrooms. Add the coconut milk. Cut the large red pepper into strips and add to the soup.
Stir all of the ingredients together.
Cook medium to medium-low for 15-20 minutes checking periodically that the soup doesn’t boil over.
Check the soup for taste. Add salt if needed.
After the soup has cooked 15-20 minutes, add the frozen peas. Stir together.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro and chili paste to taste. This soup is traditionally paired with white rice, but you can opt for something grain-free like cauliflower rice.
This recipe is so easy to modify. There are times that I simply dump in our leftover vegetables and add them to the soup with great success! I’ve found eggplant and cabbage are particularly yummy.