Tom Kha Gai Soup

I often forget about the fragrant Thai soups that are perfect for chilly weather and especially cold season. Although the authentic soup recipe requires galanga root, I found that the version I made came very close to the soups I had sampled over the years and was so flavorful and comforting too!

Part 1


  • 2 - 3 inch ‘finger’ of ginger, skin slightly scraped off and then grated

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped dried lemongrass - or 2 long stalks pounded with a rolling pin to release flavor

  • 4 kefir lime leaves - broken to release flavor

  • 4 cups flavorful chicken stock

  • 2 medium chicken breasts

  • 8 ounces sliced brown mushrooms (I used a mix of button, shiitake, cremini, and oyster)

  • 2 cans coconut milk (full fat)

  • 1 tablespoon Thai chili paste

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

Fresh basil, coriander or mint for garnish.


Begin by preparing a nice quality stock with chicken bones, garlic and ginger. (You can make this the day before). You will build the soup from this flavorful base. Once the stock is ready - add the lemon grass and leave for 30 minutes to infuse before straining the stock and adding it to the soup pot.



  • Chicken stock and breast meat, coconut milk.


Warm the chicken stock before adding the whole chicken breasts. Allow the chicken breast meat to slowly poach at a medium simmer until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. (Do not boil). Remove the chicken meat and slice into small pieces. Set aside and add the coconut milk to the soup pot, stirring while bringing to a full boil.

Part 3 - Bringing it all together


  • chicken breast meat, sliced mushrooms, lime leaves, sauces and lime juice.


Once the stock and coconut milk have returned to a low simmer, add the remaining ingredients. Taste and then add the chili paste last, half at a time, to your taste in heat and spice. Leave the finished soup to simmer at least 30 minutes before ladling into bowls and garnished with lime slices and fresh herbs. I also added strips of basil during the last steps before serving to infuse even more flavor.

I served the soup over steamed rice for a filling dinner main course.

I served the soup over steamed rice for a filling dinner main course.

tkg 2.jpg

About the Author

Writer, photographer & foodie living on a farm in Normandy called Rabbit Hill, I also run a French lifestyle online pop-up shop and offer French foodie workshops.

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