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Tom Kha Gai

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tom kha gai recipe authentic thai soup coconut chicken spicy

Tom Kha Gai is a highly popular Thai soup known for its intense and aromatic flavors and its rich and creamy coconut-infused broth.   Tom Kha Gai translates as “boiled galangal chicken.”  Galangal looks similar to ginger and is related to it, but has a more peppery and pungent flavor.  Use galangal for this recipe if you can find it (available at most well-stocked Asian markets) or substitute with ginger.

This is a quick and easy soup to make, but there is nothing simple about the deliciously complex flavors.  Aroi Mak Mak!  (That’s Thai for “Deeeeelicious!”)

Thai people love their food (and so do we!) and food is a central part of their culture.  I have heard it said that Thai people don’t exchange “how are you?” as the common greeting.  Rather, they ask “gin khao reu yung?, which means “have you eaten yet?”  Now that’s my kind of greeting!  Scratch the small talk and let’s get down to FOOD!

I wanted to create a version of this soup that was bursting with flavor, deliciously aromatic, and visually beautiful.  Goal achieved!  I’m confident you will agree.

*Note:  For seafood version (Tom Kha Thale) and vegetarian-friendly, substitute shrimp for the chicken, vegetable broth for chicken broth, and follow the same preparation instructions.

P.S.  Be sure to connect with me on Facebook to join in on all the foodie fun and to get word of the latest recipes!

tom kha gai recipe authentic thai soup coconut chicken spicy

Tom Kha Gai

One of Thailand's most popular soups, this curry and coconut-infused chicken soup will satisfy both tummy and soul!
4.80 from 24 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine Thai
Servings 6 servings
Calories 417 kcal


  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Thai red curry paste can also be found in Asian markets
  • 3 cups strong chicken stock
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 large lemongrass stalk trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 6 thin slices fresh galangal or ginger
  • 2 Thai chilies seeded cut in thin slices (use less if you prefer it less spicy)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1 lb chicken breast cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup white button mushrooms sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves preferably Thai basil if you have it, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro or basil leaves for garnishing


  • Warm the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the curry paste, stirring until fragrant. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, lemongrass, ginger, chilies, lime juice, and fish sauce and bring it to a simmer, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken strips and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the 1/4 cup basil and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add salt to taste if needed. Remove the lemongrass and ginger and serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil leaves or cilantro.


Calories: 417kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 22gFat: 33gSaturated Fat: 26gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 615mgPotassium: 857mgFiber: 3gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 810IUVitamin C: 29.3mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!





kimberly killebrew the daring gourmet

Hi, I’m Kimberly Killebrew and welcome to Daring Gourmet where you'll find delicious originals, revitalized classics, and simply downright good eats from around the world! Originally from Germany, later raised in England, world-traveled, and now living in the U.S., from my globally-influenced kitchen I invite you to tour the world through your taste buds!

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Recipe Rating

4.80 from 24 votes (9 ratings without comment)


  1. Learn to cook, Don. The talent of this lady is faaar beyond you will ever be able to grasp.

  2. This is an all time favorite of mine, I’ve been making it for a few years now, I’ve done a few changes over the years, I marinade the chicken for a few hours with red curry paste and some soy sauce, I use half light coconut milk and half regular to trim down on some calories. I recommend using cheese cloth for the galangal and lemongrass so you don’t have to fish it out. It’s also great to add some shrimp in the hot broth right before serving! Lastly, I serve it over whatever fresh noodles I can get at the Asian market. Thank you for this recipe, it’s truly the best!

  3. Was really good! Would adding another tbpsn of red curry paste ruin it? I love the curry taste and would like it a little bit stronger if I can.

  4. I’ve been looking for this recipe for ages and this one was brilliant. Added a little more of curry paste and fish sauce but other that this was perfect. So delicious and making it again this week.

  5. There is a Thai Restaurant in town (Thai Cafe, Ingleside Tx) that makes the most amazing Tom Kha Gai. I went through a few recipes to find one that matched theirs and this one is perfect! It’s difficult to find galangal and lemon grass here so I use ginger and sometimes have to skip the lemon grass, though sometimes our grocery store has lemon grass bone broth.

  6. This is an absolutely brilliant recipe , super simple and high on flavour, even for a non-cook like me! Just love it, thanks. :)

  7. This soup is amazing. I love it! I make it every time I feel under the weather. The Asian in me likes to add more ginger, lemongrass, lime, and fish sauce than what the recipe calls for. Also, I like to add 1.5 Tbls of brown sugar for a touch of sweetness. I used an entire pack of the cheap white mushrooms and half a brick of tofu instead of chicken. Delicious!

  8. Thanks for posting. Delicious! I’m fortunate to live near Thai & Asian markets. I’ve discovered that lemongrass paste in a tube, fish sauce and red curry paste are now easily found in ‘regular’ grocery stores near me.

  9. I just made it for the first time and the two tablespoons of fish sauce was way too overpowering–it tasted fantastic before I added it in at the end. I can see how the fish sauce adds depth but that much of it really obliterated the delicate flavors of lime, lemongrass, coconut, and chicken. I think next time, I’ll try one teaspoon of fish sauce. FYI… the fish sauce addition took it from 5 stars down to 3.