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.


★★★★★ 2 votes

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
  • 5
    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
  • 3-5
    thai chilis (can use jalapeno or other hot chili instead)

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


  1. Cut 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.
  2. Add the chicken, fish sauce and sugar.
    Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked, then add remaining coconut milk.
  3. Heat just to boiling, add chili paste and lime juice, stir until blended.
    Garnish with cilantro leaves and crushed chili peppers.
  4. NOTE: 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

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