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Chicken Coconut Soup (Tome Kha Gai)

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 4-3/4 to 5 cups.

Servings: four as a starter or two as a light meal.

This soup is a treasure: a quintessentially Thai dish that you can make at home simply, quickly, and with great success.


  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 6 fresh or frozen wild lime leaves (also known as kaffir lime leaves), torn or cut into quarters
  • 10 to 12 thin slices galangal, fresh, frozen, or dried (or 10 to 12 thin slices fresh unpeeled ginger)
  • 8 to 10 fresh hot red and green Thai chiles, stemmed and lightly pressed with the side of a knife (or 3 or 4  serranos, thinly sliced) for garnish (optional)
  • 2 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh  cilantro
  • 1 boneless chicken breast half (about 6 ounces), cut into bite-size chunks or sliced across the grain into strips
  • 1/4 lb. white mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, and thinly sliced to yield 1 cup
  • 14-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (shake the can before opening it)
  • 14-oz. can low-salt chicken broth or 1-3/4 cups water

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on four servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 350
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 210
  • Fat (g): 23
  • Saturated Fat (g): 19
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Cholesterol (mg): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 770
  • Carbohydrates (g): 25
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 16


  • Trim away and discard the root end and the top 3  inches of each stalk of lemongrass, along with any brittle leaves. Pound each stalk lightly with the spine of a cleaver or an unopened can. Cut each stalk crosswise into 2-inch lengths and set aside.
  • In a large serving bowl, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, scallions, and half of the wild lime leaves. Set the bowl by the stove, along with small dishes containing the galangal, lemongrass, and remaining lime leaves; the chiles (if using), the chopped cilantro; and the sliced chicken and mushrooms.
  • In a medium saucepan, commbine the coconut milk and broth. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves. Add the chicken and mushrooms. Return to a gentle boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes to infuse the flavors and cook the chicken.
  • Remove the pan from the heat, pour the hot soup over the seasonings in the serving bowl, and stir well. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve hot. Pass around the chiles for those who want them.


Rate or Review

Reviews (10 reviews)

  • User avater
    AmberJFarrell | 04/05/2019

    Delicious chicken coconut soup.

  • user-3299548 | 03/31/2014

    Good recipe for a happy family.

  • User avater
    khavasutra | 10/13/2013

    Simply delicious. Tome Kha Gai is one of my favorite soups to order out and this one delivered spledidly. I did adjust the menu a touch.Firstly I doubled the recipe and added a tablespoon of red curry paste. I added the lemongrass, ginger, and lime leaves during the low boil and then strained them out after 10 minutes. I then added the chicken and mushroom. Instead of pouring the delicious soupy goodness in a bowl I put the green onions, serrano peppers, fish sauce, lime juice, and cilantro in brefore serving. I served Jasmine rice on the side. I also kept my bottle of Sriachi closte at hand. My tastebudes were exstatic.I'm not sure why people thought there was too much of a lime taste. The balance was perfection. It's a favorite in my Paprika app.

  • idaho1976 | 07/22/2012

    Use coconut milk from scratch and add a 1/2 a cup milk, and then cook the milk and and broth with the bones from a rotisserie chicken. Next I put in a good quality curry paste with lemongrass in it already. I put the meat in at the end. My new favorite soup.

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