Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk, 'Tom Kha Gai'

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This is a mild but spicy chicken soup (it can also be made with shrimp, pork, beef or mushrooms), flavored with the unique flavor of galangal ("kha" in Thai) which creates a heavenly taste when combined with hot chile peppers, coconut milk, lime leaves and lemongrass.

The recipe below is a common, basic method using a prepackaged soup broth or bullion cube. To make things more tasty, try preparing your own broth from scratch. To make a simple broth for Tom Kha, put a carrot, half stalk celery, one medium chopped onion, perhaps a half cup of chopped daikon, and a few cloves of fresh garlic, into a pot of water. Simmer for an hour or so and you have a good broth, to be used in place of the 16 oz broth mentioned in recipe below. We also prefer increasing the amount of coconut milk to broth, to a 1:1 ratio.

You might also be interested in our excellent quality ready-made Tom Kha Soup in Pouches.

A nice variant to recipe below is our Tom Kha Salmon recipe made by the Prime Minister of Thailand.


16 fluid ounces soup broth (chicken stock)
4-5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
4 or 5 2 inch pieces fresh lemongrass, bruised to release flavor
1 inch cube (or a bit more) galangal sliced thinly.
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 oz chicken breast cut into smallish bite sized pieces
5 fluid ounces coconut milk
small red Thai chile peppers, slightly crushed (to taste)
coriander (cilantro) leaves to garnish.

Note the number of red peppers is a personal choice. It can be as few as half a chilli per diner, to as many as 8-10 per diner, but the dish should retain a balance of flavors and not be overwhelmend by the chili peppers. We suggest about 8-12 chili peppers for this recipe.


Heat the stock, add the lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, fish sauce, and lime juice. Stir thoroughly, bring to a boil, and add the chicken and coconut milk, then the chile peppers. Bring back to the boil, lower the heat to keep it simmering and cook for about 2 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through). Enjoy!

Not really intended to be eaten as a separate course, we like it served ladled over a bowl of steamed Thai jasmine rice. This quantity serves 4 with other food, but is probably only enough for two if eaten

If you would like to have a decent-tasting tom kha without spending the time to prepare above, we also suggest you try our convenient Tom Ka Paste (click to see description).


Here, in the photo to the right, we prepared the tom kha the same as in the above method, but without any soup stock. The liquid is only coconut milk, and a touch of water. We also added, after it was ladled into a small bowl, a half teaspoon of roasted chile in soybean oil (prik pao). This gave it nice color and flavor. Another option: try a touch of Thai chile oil on top instead of the prik pao.

Try our Tom Kha Kit. Extraordinary Value

Here we're offering everything you need to make several large servings of the best fresh home-made authentic Tom Kha. A thoughtful mix of fresh Thai herbs with all ingredients. Expedited to your door via 2 day shipping to ensure fresh delivery (upgraded at no charge). You'll also be able to make other Thai recipes. This is a great value and will have you cooking healthy Tom Kha soup right away. Checkout with regular shipping and we'll upgrade it to expedited 2 day at no extra charge.

3 stalks fresh lemongrass
1 piece (3 oz) fresh galangal
20 fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 fish sauce 10 oz
3 8.5 oz all natural coconut milk
1 ground Thai chiles
3 oz fresh Thai chiles
2 fresh limes
1 Amazing Elephant Tom Kha
Tom Kha Kit. $28.95
Tom Kha Kit with 5 lb Jasmine Rice. $34.95

NEW: Amazing Elephant Tom Kha Pouch.

NEW: Amazing Elephant brand "Tom Kha" Soup -- It's All In The Pouch. After years of development and investing in America, we are happy to introduce this ready-to-eat, premium quality, authentic and delicious Tom Kha soup made in small batches using the highest quality ingredients. Amazing Elephant brand puts everything in the pouch and cooks it to perfection.

To heat, simply put the pouch in boiling water for 3 minutes then open and serve alone or over rice. You can also microwave it for 90 seconds. It's all inside, so you don't need to add a thing.

This all-natural, gluten-free, preservative-free soup is precooked in a modern BPA-free pouch that's shelf stable for two years but tastes like it was just made fresh in a Thai grandmother's kitchen. Premium ingredients and sophisticated preparation ensure that this rivals anything a Thai restaurant serves.

More Info About Our Amazing Elephant Tom Kha

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January 15th, 2009
12:03 AM
Recipe came out entirely too salty, but was edible, the first time around. The second time around I used only 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and instead of using chicken stock, I used water and simmered the mixture for one hour prior to adding the second round of ingredients. Additionally, I added two tablespoon of palm sugar, 8 oz of fresh coconut milk and topped off with fresh diced crimini mushrooms and cherry tomatoes just before serving. It was delicious!
January 22nd, 2009
4:08 PM
One of the first recipes I learned to cook on this site and absolutely delicious! I've tried some other recipe variations for this soup, and I keep coming back to this one as it's the best! I like adding shitake mushrooms to it as they absorb the flavor beautifully. I also sometimes add a bit (1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. depending on preference) of Nam Prik Pao, which alters the flavor just slightly and makes it a bit "smokier".
April 17th, 2009
11:07 PM
YUMMMOLA! I used the ingredients as listed, except I used 2T fish sauce which seemed enough, but I also seasoned (salt & pepper) the chicken before adding. I had to make the soup a day early. I had the chicken stock/broth, galangal, lemon grass, lime leaves, lime juice, and fish sauce and simmered them for a time, added the chicken and simmered until the chicken was done. The next day, I added the coconut milk and chilis about 1/2 hour before serving while reheating and it came out great. I added the chile peppers the next day because I thought they'd get too hot over night. Served it with the jasmine rice. PERFECT! This is a FAB recipe! Just what one would expect from you guys! THANKS!
A J Barkis
August 12th, 2009
4:01 PM
caron higham-wood
September 9th, 2009
3:08 PM
Made this tonight, cheated so it took less than five minutes to prepare. I blitzed the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves along with the chilli's and ginger, and also put 3 garlic cloves in, in a food processor with the lemon juice. Added this to the rest of the ingredients in a pan and only used 2tbsp of fish sauce. This was plenty, as the smell is quite overpowering until the coconut milk is added. i also added some fine noodles at the end of cooking to make this more of a meal. Absolutely scrummy!
October 20th, 2009
6:57 PM
SUPER TOM KHA GHAI - THE BEST. You never fail with recipes from this site.
November 11th, 2009
7:37 PM
This is a wonderful soup, but this recipe does not include mushrooms. I love this soup with mushroom and I never add lemon might be good in the soup, but I have just never bought it and used it. And when I can't get lime leaves, I only add lime juice at the end and when I can't find galangal, I just use fresh ginger root. It is all good, although authentic ingredients make this soup "THE BEST".
April 15th, 2010
6:35 PM
This fragrant food is delicious. So exotic, so good!
Joaephina S, villanueva
August 31st, 2010
10:57 AM
I cooked this recipe, and became an expert overnight my friends thought I attended a Thai cooking class. Thanks for making your products available to us.
October 10th, 2010
11:54 AM
Great Recipe! I think that the American Pallet likes less fish sauce. I use 1/2 to 3/4 of the amount called for. It's hard sometimes to find or afford fresh ingredients. I used dried kaffir leaves, dried galangal, dried Thai Peppers, and canned chicken. Also, most canned coconut milk comes in 13 oz, so I double the recipe and use a little more coconut milk than called for. It comes out great! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!
January 4th, 2011
10:36 AM
My favorite soup...can't wait to try
May 31st, 2011
12:53 PM
My first time cooking this Thai soup and it was a smashing success! I played with the ingredients a bit including reducing the fish sauce, using no water or soup stock (just coconut milk) and adding mushrooms. A couple more times and I think I'll have it to figure out what I need to do to make as spicy as I normally like! Either way, beautiful kit, great recipe - fresh food never smelled so good! Thank you ImportFood!
Yak Jai Dii
July 23rd, 2011
1:54 AM
Making it now for Breakfast for my wife! Lived in Bangkok for six years, but when I made this, it took me right back to my favorite sidewalk cafe, thanks so much!!
August 11th, 2011
2:27 AM
I cant cook, but Im starting to learn how to and this site is AWESOME! My husband LOVES Thai Food and loves it when I cook him some! Thank you! I cant wait to go back to Thailand to visit Thank you!
April 7th, 2012
3:32 PM
Does anyone know what the nutrition information is for this recipe per serving? Need to know the fat, carb, fiber, and protein mgs.
January 23rd, 2013
10:41 PM
Made the soup for the first time tonight, and it was awesome!! Served it over Thai Jasmine Rice - delicious! The flavor is very subtle, light, and delicious. I made it with chicken and mushrooms. With the rice and bread, it is a full meal for two!
January 20th, 2016
11:57 PM
Awsome. I used the pouch as a starting point. Its inexpensive and includes all the hard to find ingredients. I doctored it with a little more fish sauce from my Thai Grocer import Christmas order and fresh lime.
A leaf of fresh lemon grass. I added a couple handfuls of fresh mushrooms that I had on hand in the fridge wondering how I'd use them. And poured it into the
rice cooked in the rice cooker over the cooked steamed sticky rice and heated it about 5-10 min. I could have added other fresh things. But, one pot, one room goodness. I added a little water to get the consistency saltiness right.
Thanks. Love watching the videos. Love the site. Love my charcoal Tao's.

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