Tom Kha Gai -Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

There's beach on the island of Koi Tao. This Coconut Chicken Soup tastes like my memory.

coconut chicken soup

  Chicken Coconut Soup

Originally a chicken dish with copious amounts of galangal (think ginger), Chicken Coconut Soup has evolved into a sumptuous and decadent blend of creamy coconut milk infused with the crown glories of Thai spices – galangal, garlic, Thai chilies, and lemongrass. It is a soup to lovingly tend to and a soup to linger over.

Chicken Coconut Soup

This version of Chicken Coconut Soup has one ingredient that is missing from the original version, a herb called “phak si”, which is a dill weed. Fear not. As unique as this ingredient is, cilantro brings in a similar flavor profile.

When recreating authentic recipes always remember slow and low, take your time and layer your flavors accordingly. First, your oils followed by vegetables, then aromatics and spices, etc. etc. …. a little at a time… Each flavor builds upon the last.

Red Thai chilies can be hard to find so I would substitute them for chili flakes. Not quite the same but its something you can pretty much find in any supermarket and will give you the heat you need for this dish.

Chicken Coconut Soup

Falls in love with a deep squeeze of lime

Stir memories of a beach in Koi Tao, lounging on Thai cushions at sunset

In the spice chest you’ll find garlic, galangal and Thai chilies


Suggestions and Alternatives

  • Be sure to sweat your vegetables well before adding any ingredient.
  • Before adding your mushrooms, wash them well, pat dry and saute them in a separate pan. Get your pan smoking hot (No oil at first), then add the mushrooms (without oil), after 3 minutes then add 1 tbs. oil, remove from heat, add salt and let cook for 1 more minute. Remove from pan and place in a paper towel to remove excess oil. Then add to soup.
  • If you can’t find “Kaffir Lime Leaves”, Micro-fine 3 limes.
  • Galangal can be substituted with ginger (Micro-fined).

coconut chicken soup

coconut chicken soup
5 from 1 vote

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
Course Soup
Cuisine thai
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2 people
Calories 565 kcal


Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

  • 4 cups chicken stock quality
  • 1 12 oz. coconut milk quality
  • 2 tbs. garlic minced
  • 2 tbs. coconut oil quality
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms sliced
  • 4 tbs. red bell peppers diced
  • 4 Thai basil leaves torn
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves torn
  • 1/2 stalk lemongrass crushed
  • 1 galangal sliced
  • 4 teaspoon fish sauce quality
  • 3 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 red Thai chilies sliced
  • 2 chicken breast sliced


Instructions for Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup):

  1. In a large pot add coconut oil, minced garlic, 1 diced red bell pepper, 1 crushed lemongrass, 5 thinly sliced galangal slices, red Thai chilies, minced yellow onions , and sliced mushrooms.

  2. cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until onions are translucent and red peppers are soft.

  3. add chicken stock, coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce, and thin sliced chicken breast.

  4. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. remove from heat.

  6. add kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil leaves

  7. simmer another 5 minutes.
  8. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.



  1. This is such a beautiful soup and what a great post! My husband’s step-mom is from Thailand so we were lucky enough to visit a few years ago and got the local’s to show us around. The food there is unbelievable and when I asked her the secrets to Thai flavor she said low and slow too!

  2. 5 stars
    You are so right – yes it’s easy to through together a soup, but treating the ingredients and recipe with the respect and time the creator intended will give far better results – in this case, creamy, spiced coconut heaven.

  3. This soup has all the flavours in that I love and I would so much like to eat it right now. It’s still cold here and I need some hot and spicy food to warm me up!

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