|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 18g||23%|
|Saturated Fat 13g||66%|
|Total Carbohydrate 18g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 5g|
|Vitamin C 16mg||80%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
This simple Thai chicken soup (aka Tom Ka Gai) has that distinctive Thai flavor–a balance of spicy, salty, sweet, and sour. A bit creamier than Tom Yum soup, you will especially welcome this soup's frangrance and comforting warmth during the winter.
Tom Ka Gai can either be served as an appetizer or as the star player. Add noodles if you're planning to make this soup an entree. So sip, slurp, and enjoy.
Click Play to See This Simple Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk Recipe Come Together
"This soup was delicious. I added the vegetables and extra coconut milk for creaminess. I also ended up adjusting and adding more fish sauce and a bit more brown sugar. Preparation was easy but takes a little time to measure, chop, and mince—it was worth every minute!" —Diana Rattray
1 stalk lemongrass
6 cups chicken stock
1 to 2 chicken breasts, sliced
1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
4 makrut lime leaves, fresh or frozen
1 to 3 fresh red chiles, minced to taste
1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated
1/2 to 1 (13 1/2-ounce) can good-quality coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce, or more to taste
Sliced bell pepper, optional
Cherry tomatoes, optional
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar, or to taste, optional
Handful fresh coriander leaves
Handful fresh basil leaves
3 spring onions, sliced
Wheat noodles or rice noodles, if serving as the main course, optional
Gather the ingredients.
Slice and mince the lower portion of the lemongrass stalk. Retain the upper stalk for the soup pot.
Place chicken broth in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. If you have leftover chicken or turkey bones, add those too. Bring to a boil.
Add the chicken and mushrooms.
Then add the prepared lemongrass–including the upper stalk pieces–the makrut lime leaves, and fresh chilies.
Boil 5 to 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Reduce heat down to medium.
Add the galangal or ginger, 1/2 can of the coconut milk, the fish sauce, and extra vegetables (if using). Stir well and simmer gently for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
Add the lime juice and stir. Do a taste test. Look for a balance between spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. Start with saltiness, adding more fish sauce if the soup is not salty or flavorful enough, 1 tablespoon at a time. If it's too sour, add the brown sugar. If the soup is too spicy or if you'd like it creamier, add more coconut milk. If it's not spicy enough, add more chilies.
Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle a little fresh coriander, basil, and spring onions over each bowl.
How to Store and Freeze
- Refrigerate Tom Ka Gai in a covered container for 3 to 5 days.
- For longer storage, freeze the soup in containers or zip-close freezer bags for up to 3 months.
- If you are serving the soup with noodles, it is best to prepare them separately from the soup; otherwise, the soup gets too thick because of the starch from the noodles. Leftovers will also taste better this way.
- It can be difficult to find makrut lime leaves, but they are available online and they can be frozen. If you need to substitute, use 2 teaspoons of lime zest or 1 teaspoon of lime zest and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
- You may use dried galangal root to flavor the soup. Reconstitute the galangal in boiling water. Add the steeping water and slices of the reconstituted galangal root to the soup, but do not eat the slices.
- Use 3 tablespoons of frozen prepared lemongrass in place of the lemongrass stalk.
- Instead of the sliced chicken breasts, use up any leftover roasted chicken or turkey you might have on hand. All you need is 1 to 2 cups.
- Substitute 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed chile peppers if you don't have fresh red chiles.
- For an extra kick of flavor, add a dollop of either store-bought or homemade Nam Prik Pao chili sauce.
Do You Eat the Makrut Lime Leaves?
Like the lemongrass stalk and sliced galangal (if using dried sliced), the makrut lime leaves are left in the soup for flavor, but are not eaten.