Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai)

Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai)

The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
930 Calories
54g Fat
53g Carbs
63g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 930
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 54g 70%
Saturated Fat 40g 199%
Cholesterol 124mg 41%
Sodium 2571mg 112%
Total Carbohydrate 53g 19%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 63g
Vitamin C 48mg 239%
Calcium 158mg 12%
Iron 14mg 77%
Potassium 2191mg 47%
*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.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

1:02

Click Play to See This Simple Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk Recipe Come Together

Ingredients

  • 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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai) ingredients

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  2. Slice and mince the lower portion of the lemongrass stalk. Retain the upper stalk for the soup pot.

    Slice and mince the lower portion of the lemongrass stalk

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  3. 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.

    chicken broth in a pot

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  4. Add fresh chicken, leftover chicken, or turkey, and mushrooms.

    Add chicken and mushrooms to the broth in the pot

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  5. Then add the prepared lemongrass–including the upper stalk pieces–the makrut lime leaves, and fresh chilies.

    add the lemongrass, the makrut lime leaves, and fresh chilies to the soup in the pot

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  6. Boil 5 to 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Reduce heat down to medium.

    soup cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  7. 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 ginger, coconut milk, the fish sauce, and extra vegetables to the soup in the pot

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  8. 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.

    add lime juice to the soup in the pot

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

  9. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle a little fresh coriander, basil, and spring onions over each bowl.

    Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai) in a bowl

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

Tips

  • 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.
  • For an extra kick of flavor, add a dollop of either store-bought or homemade Nam Prik Pao chili sauce.
  • Tom Ka soup can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months to enjoy at a later time.

Recipe Variations

  • 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.