Tom Kha Gai: Thai coconut chicken soup

Tom Kha Gai: Thai coconut chicken soup

Tom Kha Gai is always a toss up at a restaurant. It could be good. It could be…not good. But made at home, it’s ALLLLLLWWAAAYYYSSS good! :)

Today, it’s a chilly 36˚F outside, and I’ve got a little tickle in my throat. So what better soup to make than Tom Kha Gai, which is both delicious and medicinal?

This recipe uses homemade bone broth, coconut milk, ginger or galangal, herbs and spices to make a comforting soup that is surprisingly filling. I only had one mug of this today, and I felt totally full! And I was really glad to use the chicken stock we made from our Christmas chicken—lots of gelatin and full-bodied flavor from the herbs I used at Christmas. YUM.

What I really like about this soup is that it’s really forgiving. As long as you start with a good base of chicken broth (homemade is best), coconut milk, and ginger/galangal, you can tweak it any way you like!

To make Tom Kha Gai, you’ll need:

  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 15 oz. coconut milk
  • Pinch of dried chili flakes (buy here)
  • 1-2 inches of freshly grated ginger or galangal root
  • 2 sticks of lemongrass (buy here)
  • 3-5 kaffir lime leaves (buy here)
  • ALT: Use the juice from a fresh lime or lemon in place of lemongrass.

Tom Kha Gai: Thai coconut chicken soup

Optional Ingredients

  • Sliced mushrooms
  • Thinly sliced chicken breast
  • Chopped green onions or scallions
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Thinly sliced bell peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Splash of fish sauce (buy fermented wild caught fish sauce here)

Bring the chicken broth to a boil, and then add the coconut milk, lemongrass, grated ginger, and chile flakes. Add any optional vegetables at this time, as well. Keep at a steady simmer for 15 minutes, and then add the thinly sliced pieces of chicken breast. Cook for 2 minutes.

Garnish with chopped green onions and cilantro, and pour over thinly sliced mushrooms. Season with sea salt if needed.

I like to make mine with plenty of ginger and lemongrass, and today I used garlic scallions, which turned out FANTASTIC. I prefer to use lots of veggies or mushrooms instead of chicken, which technically makes it “Tom Kha” since “Gai” means chicken.

Either way I love this soup. Warms my insides. MMmmmmm….

Tom Kha Gai: Thai coconut chicken soup

Featured on Traditional Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday, Tasteful Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Frugal Tuesday Tip, and Thank Your Body Thursday.


  1. says

    This is my favorite Asian soup- don’t skip the fish sauce, it’s one of those ingredients that you can’t really taste but it makes the whole dish- like a bass note you can’t hear but can feel.

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