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Tom Kha Gai - Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

I love this soup! We originally came across a recipe in Gordon's Great Escape - Southeast Asia, but it has since made it into our regular rotation and become our own. It is dead simple to assemble, tasty and warming with a hint of heat. It is a satisfying chicken soup with a twist. A lot of recipes recommend straining the broth once you have simmered it, but we like it with the bits and so never strain it. Feel free to do so though if you'd rather.


  • 1 litres of chicken stock - the richer the better, and even better with bits in

  • 0.5 - 1 litre of coconut milk ( or you can do half coconut milk and half coconut cream if you want it richer. If the stock is weak, I do recommend this, but it also depends on the chicken to coconut balance you want. I like it just fine with simply coconut milk.

  • A big chunk of ginger, peeled and julienned

  • 1 head of garlic, minced

  • 6 chilis chopped

  • 6 kafir lime leaves, crumbled

  • 2 lemon grass stalks, chopped (these can be woody if left in. Like I said, I do anyway - I enjoy the crunch - but remove them if that's not your thing)

  • 3/4 c shitake or oyster mushrooms (rehydrate these in advance if using dried ones) - chopped

  • 2 shallots, chopped

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tbsp lime juice

  • salt to taste

1) Bring chicken stock and coconut milk to a simmer. Add all ingredients up to shallots and cook 30-45 minutes, allowing flavour to develop.

2) Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and lime juice. Serve.

We had this alongside our (first attempt at) Spring Rolls. The two paired wonderfully together, complementing flavours and rounding out the soup into a meal. Very tasty even with nothing to pair with it though. Simple, light but nutritious, I do love this soup (even if I am not quite sure to what extent it still resembles anything Thai).

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