Tom Kha Kai (Chicken Coconut Thai Soup)

tom kha soup


One of my favorite soups. I can eat several bowls of this amazingly flavorful, creamy, fresh, spicy soup. I discovered it by chance and tried several combinations of ingredients until I found the recipe I really loved. The only downside is that some of the ingredients might be difficult to find unless you have an Asian market nearby. Trying this soup might be a good reason to start looking for one…


tom kha ingredients

Ingredients for Tom Kha Kai


Ingredients (serves 4)

1 can of coconut milk (16 0z- 400 ml)

3 cups chicken stock (700 ml. aprox)

2 banana shallots (4 regular)

2 boneless chicken breasts

½ pound mushrooms

1-2 tbsps. fish sauce

2-3 limes (juice)

4-5 kefir lime leaves

2-3 chunks of galangal root (4- 5 inches total)

3 stalks of lemongrass

2-3 red chilies


1 tbsp. vegetable oil

banana shallot



5 quart pot

collapsible steamer/cooking mesh

knife and board

Lekue Cooking Mesh, Clear

Cooking mesh available in Amazon

STABIL Stoompaninzet IKEA De handgreep is afneembaar. De pan is makkelijker te tillen omdat de losse handgreep niet warm wordt.

Ikea collapsible steamer












STEP 1.- Finely chop the shallots and the cilantro leaves. Slice the mushrooms and dice the chicken breasts. Remove the outer layers and cut the lemongrass into 1.5 inch chunks. Cut the galangal into 1 inch chunks.

tom kha step 1


STEP 2.- Add 1 tbsp. vegetable oil to a pot and set heat to medium. When the oil is hot add the shallots, fry for one minute stirring continuously. Add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes.

preparación sopa tom kha


STEP 3.- Add the mushrooms and the chicken stock. If you want it very spicy, chop the red hot chili peppers and add them here. If not, see next step.

tom kha step 4


STEP 4.- Introduce the galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves (and whole chili peppers if you didn’t add them before) in the steamer or cooking mesh and place in the pot. Make sure the liquid will circulate through it, so all the flavors are incorporated. You can add them to the pot directly if you don’t mind the inedible chunks in your soup.

tom kha step 5


STEP 5.- Add the coconut milk. Season with lime juice and fish sauce to taste and let simmer for 15 minutes over medium-low heat.


STEP 6.- Remove strainer or mesh. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve.



  • You can also buy dry powdered lemongrass and galangal, if you don’t find them fresh
  • I strongly advise against substituting galangal with ginger
  • Flavors will intensify with time, so careful with the seasoning if you are not going to serve within a few hours
  • If you don’t find kaffir lime leaves, add some lime zest.tom kha with cilantro




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Recipe Name
Tom Kha Kai
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Author: SimpleTapas

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