Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) -- easy to make at home, and absolutely delicious! | gimmesomeoven.com

Yep, I’ve got another Thai recipe for you this week.

And I’m not even sorry about it.  :)

Because after my recent success finally figuring out how to cook my favorite noodle dish (homemade drunken noodles for the win!!), I was feeling all inspired to round out my repetoire with some of my other favorite Thai dishes.  So to go with my noodles, I decided to try making an enormous pot of my favorite indulgent creamy coconut soup — Tom Kha Gai.

If you’re unfamiliar with this one, it’s basically the Thai version of creamy chicken soup.  It’s made with a super rich and flavorful coconut milk base, it can be made with chicken or you could sub in another favorite protein or tofu, and — as I found out — it’s actually remarkably easy to make at home.  Win-win-win.  The only catch is that it might require a little trip to the Asian market if your grocery store doesn’t carry fresh lemongrass (the game-changing ingredient), but trust me, it’s absolutely worth it.

Let’s make some!

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) -- easy to make at home, and absolutely delicious! | gimmesomeoven.com

Unfortunately I got all distracted watching The Daily Show while making this one and forgot to snap some step-by-step photos.  (Oops!)  But the process is really quite simple:

  1. Make your broth (lemongrass, ginger, lime juice, chicken stock, green onions)
  2. Strain your broth (it’s traditional to remove all of the chunky ingredients and leave behind the flavor)
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients (chicken, mushrooms, coconut milk, fish sauce, and veggies if you’d like)Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) -- easy to make at home, and absolutely delicious! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then dish it up and pile it high with your favorite toppings!!  If you ask me, the more the merrier.  This time I went with lots of fresh cilantro and green onions.  And then I’m a big believer that this soup needs a little “kick”, so I added in some fresh Thai red chiles.  However, this dish is extremely versatile, so feel free to pile up on the ingredients you love best.

Bottom line, it’s really simple to make.  And instead of just getting the tiny bowl of “side soup” that I usually get in restaurants, this huge pot was a delicious invitation to go back for seconds.  And um, maybe thirds…  :)

Enjoy!!
Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) -- easy to make at home, and absolutely delicious! | gimmesomeoven.com

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Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Learn how to make authentic Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) with this delicious and easy recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tough outer layers removed
  • 2 tablespoons grated (or finely-chopped) fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice or 10 kaffir lime leaves*
  • 6 cups good-quality chicken stock
  • 4 green onions, thinly-sliced with the white and green parts separated
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
  • 8 ounces white, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms (or you could use a combination of your favorites), sliced
  • 2 (13.5-ounce) cans coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1-3 teaspoons coconut sugar, to taste (or use another favorite sweetener)
  • toppings: fresh cilantro, thinly-sliced Thai red chiles**, fresh lime wedges, etc.

Directions:

  1. Using the back of a knife, lightly smash the lemongrass on a cutting board.  Cut the lemongrass into 1-inch pieces, and add to a large stockpot.
  2. Add lemongrass, ginger, fresh lime juice (or kaffir lime leaves), chicken broth, and the white parts of the green onions to the stockpot, and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Strain out the broth and discard the solids, then return the broth to the stockpot.
  3. Add cooked chicken, mushrooms, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar, and stir to combine.  Increase heat to medium-high until it reaches a simmer, then continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes until the mushrooms are cooked and softened, stirring occasionally.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished liberally with your desired toppings and the green parts of the green onions.

*Kaffir limes offer a more complex/authentic flavor to this dish, but can be hard to find.  So if they’re unavailable at your local store, feel free to just use fresh lime juice.

**If you can’t find fresh chiles, you can sub in some hot chili oil or sriracha, or even some crushed red chile flakes.

***I also adding a few vegetables, such as thinly-sliced red bell peppers and split peas, to this soup for extra color and nutrition.  If you’d like to add these, just add them along with the chicken/mushrooms/etc., and let the soup continue to simmer until they’re cooked through.

Recipe slightly adapted from Bon Appetit.

All images and text ©

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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50 comments on “Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)”

  1. I’ve never had this soup before. Looks yummy. Would be glad to taste test when we visit.

  2. please include nutritional info with recipes.
    thanks

    • Hi Elaine! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  3. This sounds perfect for the upcoming chilly, rainy weekend we’re about to have in Louisville! 

    • Yes! We think it’s especially amazing while consumed in a warm, dry home, while it’s cold and rainy out! :)

  4. Yum! This is one of my favorite soups and it really is SO easy to make. One tip — my Asian market only sells frozen lemongrass which is actually great because I have a big frozen wad of it that I can use as I need it without lots of trips to the not-so-close market.

  5. What asian grocery store do you go to in KC?  My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon in Thailand and are anxious to recreate some of our favorite dishes like this one!

  6. This recipe is so fresh and tasty! It totally reminds me of summer!

  7. Thai food is normally so intimidating to try and make, but I actually recognize all of these ingredients… You make it look so easy!  You’ve encouraged me to try my hand at this cuisine instead of always ordering takeout. :)

  8. Oh, this is so beautiful! Love Thai soups like this. Your tip for straining the broth is a great one…sometimes, no matter how fine you chop lemongrass…even those soft inner leaves…there’s a bit of a texture issue.  Looking forward to making this!

  9. In the recipe you have: “Strain out the broth and discard the solids, then reduce the broth to the stockpot.”

    Should I strain the broth, return it to the stockpot, and then reduce it? 

    Making this tonight! It looks fantastic. Thanks!

  10. This looks so yummy. I want to try this recipe out, thanks for the post. 

    • Thanks Max! We hope you’ll get a chance to try it and that you enjoy! :)

  11. Oh my this looks so delicious and it’s really perfect for all seasons if you ask me. You can kick it up in the winter with extra spice

  12. I was so excited to see this and can’t wait to try this. I went to Thailand and Southeast Asia a year ago and the food was sooo spicy but absolutely incredible.  Going to get the ingredients so I can make this! It’s going to take me down memory lane :)

    • Very cool Maryann! We hope you love this and that it reminds you of your trip! :)

  13. I can’t wait to try this! Could you cook the chicken in the broth before you strain it??

  14. This soup looks so yummy! However, I’m not a fan of fish sauce; is it absolutely necessary??? Can you recommend a substitute?

    • Thanks Emily, we hope you enjoy it! And no worries about the fish sauce, you can just use extra soy sauce in its place. :)

  15. Thank you SO much for the delicious recipe. As far as I am concerned, keep these tasty Thai recipes coming. Love you blog.

    • Thanks Jan — we’re so happy you enjoyed this! Thanks for your sweet words. :D

  16. OMG made this soup last night. I absolutely love it! Got leftovers for lunch. 

  17. Looks yummy

  18. This was absolutely fantastic. I am so proud of myself for making such a yummy soup! The flavor does not shout at you but is delicate and delish. I will definitely be making this again!

  19. I’ve been looking for a good Tom Kha Gai recipe (thanks Google)… This looks great, can’t wait to try it! 

  20. I love soup, and I love Thai food, but for some reason I had never tried tom kha gai until a month or so ago, and it knocked my socks off. Unfortunately I had it on vacation, and local restaurants’ versions didn’t live up to that first experience. Another recipe I looked at called for ingredients like kaffir lime leaves and galangal that were either costly or unavailable. I’ve had luck with your recipes before, and I did this time, too! I will definitely be making this again!

    • Awesome, I’m so glad to hear it! And yes, those are two classic ingredients, but I left them out specifically for that reason — so hard to find! :(

  21. This looks like the perfect recipe for this time of year. Great thai recipe, thanks for the share!

  22. How would this freeze? I LOVE tom kha gai and all things Thai, but my husband doesn’t. Not even a bit. If I make this I wouldn’t finish the recipe myself. Typically, creamy things don’t freeze well…

    Let me know what you think!

  23. Awhile ago I got a similar recipe from a friend but I never ended up making it because I am put off by the fish sauce. I am not a seafood fan so I really don’t want to buy a bottle of fish sauce. I could taste it in my friends soup and figured I would just leave it out but she thinks it’s a critical ingredient. Has anyone tried the soup without the fish sauce?  Thx!!!

    • Hi Kim! You could totally use soy sauce in place of the fish sauce. We hope you enjoy!

  24. If I have dried lemongrass instead of fresh, how much dried would you substitute for the fresh?

  25. This was sooo good!! Thank you for the recipe!

  26. This is probably my favourite Thai soup. I’ve made it a couple of times and I get it almost everytime I go out for Thai. I would totally suggest adding galangal to the broth too, it gives it an amazing flavour!

  27. Really delicious and authentic — thank you for the recipe! I halved it since it’s just me, used light coconut milk (resulted in thinner consistency but still fabulous flavor) and added a roughly chopped clove of garlic to the broth. Also added the green onion tops with the mushrooms to infuse with more flavor. Thinly sliced red bell peppers were a great add suggestion. I sympathize with others who dislike fish sauce, but added since I had it on hand and didn’t detect any “fishiness.” Will definitely make this again!

    Rating: 5