Tom Kha Kai

Tom Kha Kai

By Food E Fare

Tom Kha Kai, often referred to simply as Tom Kha, is a popular Thai soup known for its rich and aromatic coconut milk-based broth. The name translates to "chicken galangal soup" in English. This soup is characterized by its creamy texture, tangy and savory flavors, and the use of traditional Thai herbs and spices. Here's a basic recipe for Tom Kha Kai:


  • 1 pound (about 450g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces/400ml) coconut milk
  • 3 cups (about 710ml) chicken broth
  • 1-2 stalks lemongrass, bruised and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3-4 slices galangal (or ginger if unavailable)
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 Thai bird's eye chili peppers, smashed (adjust to taste)
  • 1 medium-sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


Prepare the Broth:

  • In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.

Add Lemongrass, Galangal, and Lime Leaves:

  • Add the lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves to the simmering broth. Allow them to infuse their flavors into the broth for about 5-10 minutes.

Add Chicken and Mushrooms:

  • Add the sliced chicken and mushrooms to the pot. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink and the mushrooms are tender.

Add Coconut Milk:

  • Pour in the coconut milk and bring the soup back to a gentle simmer.

Season with Chili Peppers, Fish Sauce, Lime Juice, and Sugar:

  • Add the smashed Thai bird's eye chili peppers, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar to the pot. Adjust the quantities to achieve the desired balance of hot, sour, salty, and sweet flavors.

Add Onion:

  • Add the thinly sliced onion to the soup. Cook until the onion is just tender.

Adjust Seasoning:

  • Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if needed. Add more fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar as per your taste preferences.


  • Remove the lemongrass, galangal slices, and kaffir lime leaves from the pot. Ladle the hot Tom Kha Kai into serving bowls.

Garnish and Enjoy:

  • Garnish the soup with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot.

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