Tom Kha Gai: Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Servings: 8 Prep: 30 min Cook: 1 hr n Total: 1 hr 30 min

I remember being introduced to Thai food at a very young age, in Fresno, CA. I was about 10 years old and my uncle suggested this radical new taste sensation to my parents. It’s like Chinese, but … different! We ventured into this small plain restaurant called “The Thai House”. I just remember the simple wood paneling and tourism posters for “Thailand!” We ordered a nice variety of dishes and were BLOWN AWAY!

The flavors were strong, but bright. Complex, but clean. Spicy, but worth every painful nibble!

I remember the first taste of Tom Kha Gai. I remember thinking, “That soup is weird looking. It’s white!” Oh, but the flavor! Spicy, a little sweet and a little sour, with tender morsels of gingery chicken floating around the creamy looking white broth. This recipe has always taken me back to that moment!

This makes about 4 very nice sized dinner sized portions, or 8 smaller side soups.

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Tom Kha Gai: Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
Ingredient
Calories
Fat
Protein
Carbs
SA’s
Fiber
Net Carbs
4 cups (896g) chicken stock or broth
62.7
1.2
9
6.1
0
0
6.1
1 1/2 lb (680g) whole boneless/skinless chicken breasts (or equivalent thigh meat)
1169.6
61.2
142.8
0
0
0
0
1 3-inch (66g) piece of galangal (Thai Ginger – ginger is an acceptable substitute), peeled and sliced into 8 chunks (nutrition set to 0 … will be strained out)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1 each (67g) lemongrass stalk, 1/2-inch rough chop (nutrition set to 0 … will be strained out)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
10 each (10g) fresh kaffir lime leaves, rough chop (lime zest is an acceptable substitute – nutrition set to 0 … will be strained out)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
4 each (188g) red thai chilies, rough chop (nutrition set to 0 … will be strained out)
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
2 small (148g) red bell peppers, 1/2-inch dice
45.9
0
1.5
8.9
0
3
5.9
1 lb (454g) cremini (portobello (gills removed), oyster or button) mushrooms, washed and sliced into little wedges
122.6
0
13.6
18.2
0
4.5
13.6
2 each (756g) 13.5-ounce cans coconut milk
1488.6
160.6
16.7
20.1
0
0
20.1
1 tbsp (12g) ‘Swerve’ or other sugar replacement
0
0
0
1
1
0
0
1/4 cup (61g) lime juice, freshly squeezed
15.3
0
0.3
5.3
0
0.3
5
1/4 cup (72g) fish sauce
25.2
0
3.6
2.9
0
0
2.9
1/2 bunch (50g) cilantro, washed and stems removed
11.5
0.3
1.1
1.9
0
1.5
0.4
1/2 bunch (50g) Thai basil, washed and stems removed
11.5
0.3
1.1
1.9
0
1.5
0.4
Grand Totals (of 8 servings):
2952.8
223.5
189.6
66.1
1
10.7
54.4
Totals Per Serving:
369.1
27.9
23.7
8.3
0.1
1.3
6.8 g
66.3%
Fat
25%
Protein
8.7%
Carbs

Tom Kha Gai: Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Tom Kha Gai: Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

0 from 0 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Author: DJ Foodie

Ingredients

  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 1/2 lb whole boneless/skinless chicken breasts (or equivalent thigh meat)
  • 1 3-inch piece of galangal (Thai Ginger - ginger is an acceptable substitute) peeled and sliced into 8 chunks (nutrition set to 0 ... will be strained out)
  • 1 each lemongrass stalk 1/2-inch rough chop (nutrition set to 0 ... will be strained out)
  • 10 each fresh kaffir lime leaves rough chop (lime zest is an acceptable substitute - nutrition set to 0 ... will be strained out)
  • 4 each red thai chilies rough chop (nutrition set to 0 ... will be strained out)
  • 2 small red bell peppers 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 lb cremini (portobello (gills removed) oyster or button) mushrooms, washed and sliced into little wedges
  • 2 each 13.5-ounce cans coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp 'Swerve' or other sugar replacement
  • 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro washed and stems removed
  • 1/2 bunch Thai basil washed and stems removed

Instructions

  • In a soup pot, add chicken stock, chicken, galangal (regular ginger, if you can't find the Thai variety), lemongrass, Kaffir Lime Leaves (use lime zest, if you can't find lime leaves) and Thai Chilies. Over medium heat, bring the soup base to a boil
  • Once it starts to boil, reduce the temperature and allow the soup to simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked. The chicken should be soft and tear easily with a fork, but not dry.
  • Remove the chicken from the broth and cut it, or tear it into nice large chunks. Set aside in a warm place.
  • Strain the broth, to remove all the remaining ingredients. You should have only the flavored broth. Return this to the stove and discard the strained ingredients. (some will skip this step for a more authentic and rustic soup)
  • Add the raw bell peppers and mushrooms and bring the soup back to a simmer. Simmer with the vegetables for about 10 minutes, or until mushrooms are cooked through (they'll sit lower in the soup and won't float as aggressively).
  • Add the chicken, coconut milk, sugar equivalent (optional, I like mine a little on the sweet side), fish sauce and freshly squeezed lime juice to the soup. DO NOT BOIL the soup, as it will do funky things to the coconut milk.
  • Bring to JUST below simmering. Then, throw in the fresh cilantro and Thai basil. Quickly stir and serve, while the herbs are still green and fresh!

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* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition …

2 thoughts on “Tom Kha Gai: Thai Coconut Chicken Soup”

  1. Just tried making tom kha gai for the first time last week. Huge success! I used a different recipe originally which was very traditional, but it didn’t call for straining out the infusion herbs. It is slightly annoying having to sort through the lemongrass and chilis when eating it. So I will definitely go with the straining method next time around. The only thing I would suggest would be to leave in the galangal slices. They turn soft yet retain a slight crunch texture which I really enjoyed while eating the soup. I used a mix of thigh meat and breasts. I added the thigh meat earlier on, and though all the meat was cooked perfectly, I think we just need to admit thigh meat is so much tastier. 🙂 Thanks for this authentic recipe!

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Meaghan! Wow! I’m actually really surprised by your galangal comment. I’ve had many of these, in a variety of ways. Whenever I see the big chunks of galangal, I’ve never even thought to try it. In my mind, I always pictured the fibrous and far-too-spicy blast of flavor that comes from fresh ginger. I’ll have to give it a shot and taste it! Regarding the straining … I just find it necessary, really. Once you’ve transferred the flavor into the broth, the aromatics really do little more than create a funky texture. Plus, they start to show signed of "aging". Their vibrancy and clean tastes tend to take on a murky flavor. I really personally encourage straining … but … that’s just me! It’s not very common. Thanks, again! 🙂

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