I first discovered Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup) at a Thai restaurant that has a soup and salad bar on the weekends. They rotate the types of soups they serve so it took awhile of going before they served this one, but now they have it every Saturday. When I first took a bite I wasn’t too sure about it, but later in the day I found myself thinking about how much I actually liked it and within two weeks I was bugging my husband to go back to the restaurant so I could try it again. You initially taste the creamy coconut and then the spiciness sneaks up on you and the capsaicin drives you to want another bite, and then another, and then another…
Flash forward a couple of years to today and I decided I needed to figure out how to make this Tom Kha Gai at home because we’re trying to cut back on our restaurant meals (especially in anticipation of our upcoming trip to Tokyo). I knew the recipe had lemongrass and galangal because the restaurant that makes it leaves chunks of those in their soup that you have to sip around so I picked up both at our local Asian market. Most recipes also call for kaffir lime leaves, but I didn’t have those on hand so I used lime juice in my recipe.
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1½ cups boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
- 3 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups mushrooms, diced
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 6-8 Thai chilies, chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 lemongrass stalks, chopped 2 inches long
- 2 inches of galangal, sliced
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- cilantro and hot chili oil to garnish (if desired)
- In a large stock pot heat the chicken broth on med-high heat.
- Add the lemongrass, thai chilies, garlic and galangal.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- In a skillet, heat butter on med-high heat until melted.
- To the skillet, add the chicken and stir until browned.
- Next, add the mushrooms and cook until slightly tender then turn off heat.
- Once the broth has simmered for 15-20 minutes, add the chicken and mushroom mixture.
- Add the coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, black pepper and red pepper and stir to combine.
- Turn the heat back up to medium.
- Once boiling, turn heat to low and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes.
- If desired, remove lemongrass and galangal slices prior to serving.
- Garnish with some chopped cilantro and/or a couple of drops of hot chili oil.
When I made this recipe I used a Kitchen Basics chicken stock which has quite a red-brown color, which makes the soup a yellowish color. If you’d like to preserve a more white broth, in keeping with the coconut milk, you might want to try a brand like Pacific or Swanson that is much lighter and clearer. I hope you try this soup and love it as much as I do!
Calories Per Serving: 230