Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) features creamy coconut milk infused with lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. Tender pieces of chicken, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes add heartiness to this soup, while the aromatics add so much depth of flavor. Make this authentic Thai recipe in less than 30 minutes!
Tom Kha Gai is a must-try for all Thai food lovers! You’ll find all the classic Thai flavors in this incredible soup. Rich and creamy coconut milk is infused with the amazing aroma of galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
Tender pieces of poached chicken and mushrooms make this soup really hearty. In Thailand, it’s not uncommon for Tom Kha Gai to be paired with rice and eaten just like a curry.
The recipe does contain Thai bird chili for some heat, but it can easily be omitted. I typically serve sliced fresh Thai bird chili on the side so that my younger son can enjoy the soup without any of the spice. My older son, however, is starting to love spicy foods and will help himself to some extra slices of the chili!
Even though the flavors of this soup are so complex and so delicious, it is ridiculously easy to prepare this dish at home and it takes less than 30 minutes!
It may take a bit of effort to find the ingredients, but I promise it is worth the effort! You should be able to find these ingredients at your local Asian supermarket (or even on Amazon! I’ve added some links before to those products)
How To Make Tom Kha Gai Soup
Note: The galangal slices add fantastic flavor to the soup but do not taste very pleasant when you bite into them.
You may wish to tie up the galangal slices in cheesecloth so that they don’t end up in the serving bowl. You can leave the cheesecloth in the soup so that the galangal flavors can continue to infuse the soup.
When the soup starts to simmer, add 1 small onion (sliced).
Allow the soup to simmer for about 1 minute while stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure the coconut milk does not burn.
Add 1 cup of chicken thighs cut into small pieces. Let it simmer for about 2 more minutes. From this point until the soup is done, if the coconut milk starts to get too thick, add water (1/2 cup at a time) until you get the consistency you like.
Next, add 1 cup of mushrooms (cut into quarters).
If you don’t mind the heat, add 3 Thai bird chilies cut into halves.
Then, toss in 1/2 cup of cherry or grape tomatoes…
followed by 3 kaffir lime leaves (stems removed, thinly sliced).
Next, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
…and 3 tablespoons of fish sauce.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt. (I use Himalayan salt which is why it appears a little bit pink)
…and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
Reduce the heat to low, then allow the soup to simmer for about 5 more minutes while stirring often. Transfer to a serving bowl (or individual bowls), then serve with rice or on its own.
Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves just before serving.
Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- 3 cups coconut milk two 13.5 oz cans
- 6 slices galangal
- 3 stalks lemongrass cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 small onion sliced
- 1 cup chicken thighs or breast cut into small pieces
- 1 cup mushrooms cut into quarters
- 3 Thai bird chili halved
- 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
- 3 kaffir lime leaves stems removed, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 small bunch cilantro for garnish
- Pour coconut milk into a pot. Add galangal slices and lemongrass. Set the pot on the stove over medium heat. Hint: Tie the galangal slices in cheesecloth so they can easily be removed.
- When the soup begins to simmer, add sliced onion. Allow the soup to simmer for 1 minute while stirring often and scraping the bottom of the pan to ensure the coconut milk does not burn.
- Add chicken, then let the soup simmer for 2 minutes. If the soup gets too thick, add water (1/2 cup at a time) until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Add mushrooms, Thai bird chili, tomatoes, kaffir lime leaves, lemon juice, fish sauce, salt, and sugar.
- Allow the soup to simmer on low heat for about 5 more minutes while stirring often to prevent the coconut milk from burning.
- Transfer to serving bowl(s). Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves just before serving.