Tom Kha Kai - Thai Coconut/Chicken Soup

Carolyn Haas


When my family visited Thailand a few years ago I fell in love with this soup. This is an adaptation from a recipe in the Amazing Tastes of Thailand booklet put out by the Thailand Tourism Authority.

★★★★★ 1 vote
15 Min
15 Min
Stove Top


2 c
chicken broth
2 c
coconut milk (can use lite, just don't use coconut cream!)
6 slice
galangal (can sub fresh ginger)
2 stalk(s)
lemon grass
kaffir lime leaves
8 oz
chicken breast, sliced thin
3 Tbsp
fish sauce
2 Tbsp
1/2 c
lime juice
1 tsp
red thai chili paste
1/4 c
cilantro, torn
thai chilis (can use jalapeno or other hot chili instead)

How to Make Tom Kha Kai - Thai Coconut/Chicken Soup


  • 1Cut lower portion of lemon grass into 1 inch lengths and crush.
    Tear kaffir lime leaves in half.
    Combine half the coconut milk with the broth, galangal, lemon grass and lime leaves in a large saucepan and heat to boiling.
  • 2Add the chicken, fish sauce and sugar.
    Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked, then add remaining coconut milk.
  • 3Heat just to boiling, add chili paste and lime juice, stir until blended.
    Garnish with cilantro leaves and crushed chili peppers.
  • 4NOTE: The galangal and lemon grass are for flavoring, not to eat! When I can't get fresh kaffir lime leaves at my local Asian market, I substitute kaffir lime powder. Fresh leaves, lemon grass and galangal can all be successfully frozen. I've also used minced lemon grass in a tube from the produce section. Powdered galangal is available, too. Fresh is better, of course!

Printable Recipe Card

About Tom Kha Kai - Thai Coconut/Chicken Soup

Course/Dish: Chicken Soups
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: Thai