Coconut Soup with Chicken (Tom Kha Kai)

This dish is the most popular soup in Thai restaurants throughout the world. It can be made with different meats or just vegetables, depending on your preference.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 20 minutesTotal: 25 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 4


  • 3 Tbsp. fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 4 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tsp. minced Thai chilies
  • 1 Tbsp. cilantro leaves
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1 shallot, peeled, cut in half, and mashed
  • 8 slices galangal
  • 2 whole Thai chilies
  • 1 can chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
  • 3 lime leaves, torn in fourths or 3 small bay leaves plus 3⁄4 tsp. grated lime zest plus 1⁄2 tsp. minced lemon thyme
  • 8 oz. chicken breast, cubed, or 1 cup fried tofu cubes
  • 5 oz. oyster or button mushrooms
  • 1⁄2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. palm sugar


  • In a small bowl, combine fish sauce, lime juice, minced chilies, cilantro leaves and set aside.
  • Slightly bruise lemongrass, shallot, galangal, and whole chilies using a pestle or meat tenderizer.
  • In a saucepan, combine broth with coconut milk. Bring to boil. Add lemongrass mixture and lime leaves to the boiling broth. Simmer over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add chicken, turn the heat back up, and bring back to simmer. One minute later add mushrooms. Turn down the heat and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked, about 4 to 5 minutes over low heat. Season with salt and sugar. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the sauce to the hot soup and serve.