Thai-style Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemon & Lime

Heidi Hoerman


This soup, reminiscent of Tom Kha Gai, is made with easily found ingredients. Like many a homemade soup, you can vary the soup according to what you have at hand and substitute as I did. You can even substitute turkey for chicken.

"Tom-kha-gai" roughly translates to "soup-galangal-chicken." Galangal is a root similar to ginger. Other ingredients of a true Tom kha gai include Keffir lime leaves and lemon grass.

There are many more-authentic recipes for Tom Kha Gai on the Web and it is from these I got my inspiration.

pinch tips: How to Quarter a Chicken





10 Min


10 Min


Stove Top


3 to 4 c
chicken broth (preferably homemade to avoid a too-salty soup)
1 bunch
fine rice noodles, ramen noodles or vermicelli
1 can(s)
straw mushrooms, drained and cut in half (other canned or thinly sliced raw mushrooms may be substituted)
1/2 c
red bell pepper, julienned
1 medium
lemon, juice only (optionally add the zest)
1 medium
lime, juice only (optionally add the zest but this can be bitter)
8 oz
cooked chicken, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp
thai fish sauce (nam pla, sometimes called thai seasoning sauce)
2 to 3 dash(es)
tabasco (as a substitute for thai chiles)
1 to 2 Tbsp
grated fresh ginger
1 can(s)
coconut milk, unsweetened (light okay)
1 to 2 Tbsp
brown sugar (if needed to adjust tartness)
2 c
fresh spinach, basil or cilantro, coarsely chopped

Directions Step-By-Step

In a medium soup pot, bring chicken broth to a simmer and add the noodles. Let the noodles simmer slowly as you prepare and add the other ingredients.

Note: if you are using fresh mushrooms, slice them thinly and give them a five-minute head start in the boiling broth before adding the noodles.
Add the rest of ingredients (but not the spinach, cilantro, or basil) to the broth. Simmer slowly.
After the mixture has simmered for about 5 minutes, taste and adjust the seasoning with Thai fish sauce (for saltiness), Tabasco and ginger (for heat) and brown sugar (for sweetness). If you wish to add a stronger taste of lemon or more bitterness from the lime, add in some zest of each.
As soon as the noodles are done, add the spinach, cilantro or basil. Simmer one more minute and serve hot.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Chicken, Chicken Soups
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: Thai
Dietary Needs: Gluten-Free, Dairy Free
Other Tag: Quick & Easy