Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kah Gai, or coconut soup with chicken, is a fantastic array of flavors that are balanced perfectly into a delectable bowl of soup. It is a little salty, sweet, spicy, savory, and sour- a little bit of everything! This version is based on recipes from the She Simmers blog and Thai Food by David Thompson, both excellent sources of information and recipes for authentic Thai food. I feel lucky to live in a time where I can have global cuisines at home, and I encourage you to make this excellent soup for yourself. 

Serves 2 – 3.


  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 chicken breasts or thighs
  • 8 ounces cremini or oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 2-inch piece of fresh galangal (substitute ginger)
  • 14 oz can coconut milk with cream
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp palm sugar
  • 2 limes
  • 4-5 fresh maskrut lime leaves
  • 2-3 Thai bird’s eye chilies
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro or Thai basil


  • Combine the stock and coconut water (not coconut cream on the top of the can) in a large pan. Bring to a simmer (not rolling boil).
  • Cut the tender bottom half of the lemongrass stalks into 1-inch pieces. Chop the galangal into pieces. Add lemongrass and galangal to a tea ball or bouquet garni bag and place into the liquid to simmer.
  • Cut chicken into bite sized pieces against the grain. Clean and slice mushrooms. Add the mushrooms, palm sugar, and chicken to the broth. The ingredients should be covered with liquid, add water as needed. Return to a simmer and stir occasionally until the chicken is cooked. This will vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces; it is cooked when the meat is white completely through.
  • Remove the stems and the tough veins from the lime leaves and tear them into pieces. Chop cilantro or basil. Slice chiles thinly. Cut the limes in half.
  • When the chicken is cooked, add the fish sauce. Taste and add more fish sauce to reach the right level of salt. Stir in lime leaves and remove from heat. Remove the seasoning bag.
  • Top the bowls with cilantro or basil, juice of at least ½ lime per bowl, and however many chili slices you like! The soup should be hot, sour, salty, and sweet.

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