Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, or as it’s traditionally known, Tom Kha Gai, is a quintessential dish in Thai cuisine. Known for its rich, creamy, and tangy flavors, this soup is a symphony of sweet, sour, and spicy notes that tantalize the taste buds. It’s a dish that captures the essence of Thai culinary philosophy – a balance of different flavors, creating a harmonious and delicious eating experience.

The roots of Tom Kha Gai lie deep within Thailand’s history. As a staple of Thai cuisine for centuries, it’s a dish that has evolved and adapted, reflecting the changing tastes and influences of the region.

Interestingly enough, the original recipe of this beloved soup did not include coconut milk. It was later introduced as Thai cuisine expanded its flavor palette and began incorporating more diverse ingredients. Coconut milk, with its creamy texture and subtle sweetness, proved to be a fantastic addition, transforming the soup into a richer, more indulgent dish.

Tom Kha Gai is a masterpiece crafted from a handful of carefully chosen ingredients. Each one plays a crucial role in creating the unique flavor profile that this dish is renowned for.

The soup is traditionally made with chicken, coconut milk, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and chillies. Galangal, a relative of ginger, lends a spicy kick to the dish, distinguishing it from other chicken soups. At the same time, the coconut milk adds a luscious creaminess that rounds off the spiciness beautifully. The lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves add a citrusy freshness that cuts through the richness, and the chillies provide that quintessential Thai heat.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup is not a monolith; it’s a dish that welcomes variation and adaptation. There are several versions of the soup, each with its unique twist.

One popular variation is Tom Kha Goong, which swaps out the chicken for shrimp. This version features the same deliciously tangy and creamy soup base, but with the added sweetness of shrimp.

For vegetarians, there’s Tom Kha Jay. This version replaces chicken with tofu, providing a protein-rich alternative that still delivers the signature flavors of the soup. It also excludes fish sauce, making it a perfect choice for those adhering to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup is not just a favorite in Thailand; it has won over palates across the globe. Its delicious blend of spicy, sweet, and sour flavors, combined with its creamy texture and comforting warmth, has made it a beloved dish in many parts of the world.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup is more than just a tasty dish; it’s a testament to the richness and diversity of Thai cuisine. Its intriguing history, the careful balance of its ingredients, and its various adaptations reflect the culinary ingenuity of Thailand. Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or not, this soup is sure to offer an unforgettable culinary experience.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup – Tom Kha Gai

This soup is based on the coconut thai soup concept, but the recipe uses ingredients that you’ll be able to find more easily in a typical supermarket. It is a subtle mixture of spices. Depending on how you feel about spicy food you can add jalapeño pepper to it or leave it without like in this recipe.

Prep Time 5 mins Cook Time 20 mins Total Time 25 mins Difficulty: Beginner Servings: 2 Calories: 633




  1. Wash and dry mushrooms and bell pepper. Thinly slice mushrooms. Seed and small dice pepper. Transfer both to a medium bowl.

  2. Peel and mince garlic and ginger. Grate 1 tsp of lime zest

  3. Heat a small saucepan over medium heat.

  4. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

  5. Coat bottom of saucepan with oil. Add chicken and, stirring frequently, cook until cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  6. Return saucepan to stove. Add more oil, garlic and ginger. Stir until fragrant, 15-30 seconds. Add mushrooms, bell pepper, lime zest and juice. Stirring frequently, cook until vegetables are tender, 2-3 minutes.

  7. Add broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, honey, and chicken. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

  8. Wash and dry cilantro. Shave leaves off the stems; discard the stems and mince the leaves. Cut remaining ½ lime into wedges.

  9. To serve, pour soup into a bowl, garnish with cilantro and squeeze lime juice over top. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 bowl

Servings 2

Amount Per Serving
Calories 633kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21.4g33%
Saturated Fat 13.4g67%
Cholesterol 133mg45%
Sodium 658mg28%
Potassium 3384mg97%
Total Carbohydrate 45.3g16%
Dietary Fiber 12.2g49%
Sugars 24.2g
Protein 82.9g166%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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