This classic recipe for Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) is quick and easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and totally cozy, creamy and delicious!
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) Recipe | 1-Minute Video
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:
Make your broth (lemongrass, ginger, lime juice, chicken stock, green onions)
Strain your broth (it’s traditional to remove all of the chunky ingredients and leave behind the flavor)
Add in the remaining ingredients (chicken, mushrooms, coconut milk, fish sauce, and veggies if you’d like)
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… :)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.