Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)


Tom Kha Gai - Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Home made Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Gai)

I may have a slight addiction to this fantastic soup. The last three times I have made soup (in the past three weeks) have been Tom Kha Gai.

My image may not be the best on the net – but I assure you, this is the best RECIPE for Tom Kha Gai.

My teen told me tonight, “If you made this soup for a Chinese Emperor, he would make you his slave so you could cook for him forever.”

No worries there, my boy, I’ll be glad to just cook it for my very thankful soup-loving children.

If you love Thai, you might want to get real creative (and get your kitchen REAL dirty) making the entire meal I like to serve with this soup. I mean, it may take some clean-up, but it will save you over 60$ (which is around how much it costs when our family of 6 eats at a Thai restaurant). The dishes in the photo below are Mee Krob (which I like to call “Twice a Year Thai” – precisely because of how hard it is to clean up), a Thai salad (recipe soon if I can remember how I made it – boy it was good), and this soup. Tonight I was pining away for the noodle dish (my meaty version of Mee Krob). Maybe I’ll make it next week, but first, I have to eat up the soup leftovers, bake another whole chicken, and make broth again.

Thai Dinner at Home

Thai Dinner at Home

Until then, here’s the recipe for Tom Kha Gai, as requested by my IG, Facebook, and real life buddies:

Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Basil, Cilantro, Coconut Milk, mushrooms and chicken mingle in this delicious, mildly spicy Thai soup.
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 6
  • 1-2 quarts of home made chicken stock
  • 1 can coconut milk (can use coconut milk from carton)
  • 4-5 mushrooms, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped leeks
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • butter for frying mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon white wine (to deglaze mushroom/leek pan)
  • 1 tsp hot chili or red pepper paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp dried lemongrass or 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tsp coconut palm sugar
  • ½ tsp pink salt
  • dash pepper
  • Between 1-3 chicken breasts, cut in small pieces and sautéed
  • dash salt and sumac for sautéed chicken
  • butter or oil for chicken
  1. Cook your chicken with salt, sumac, and butter or oil. Set aside when done.
  2. Reheat your home made chicken broth in a large pot. When heated through, add the coconut milk and turn heat down to medium.
  3. Use the same pan you sautéed your chicken in to sauté your mushrooms and leeks with butter and a pinch of salt. After they are browned and soft, add your wine to deglaze the pan and scrape/pour into the soup.
  4. Add your chicken to the soup.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to your soup and stir. Let simmer on low heat and stir occasionally, allowing ingredients to mingle.
  6. Serve hot and garnish with sprigs of fresh basil or cilantro (or both). Mmmm!
  7. Goes great with Thai Tea, Mee Krob, and Thai Salad. At least that's our favorite way to serve it!

Notes: Be sure not to skimp on the broth. Make it home made. If you don’t know how – check out my post about chicken broth and why and how to make it yourself.

If you haven’t cooked your own chicken before, check out YouTube for a video about how to spatchcock a chicken (I do this with whole chickens and just drizzle it with olive oil and salt and bake on 400 degrees for about 1 or 2 hours, depending on how crisp you want your skin, and how your oven cooks). Leftover roasted chicken cut into bite sizes would be GREAT for this soup.

Use fresh herbs in this dish, also. I usually use dried lemon grass, but I always use fresh cilantro and basil.

Let me know how it goes! Maybe we can start a Tom Kha Gai Addict Anonymous group after I get you hooked.


  1. christi says

    I buy the Amy’s brand soup at the store, but I’m going to make this one next time I roast a chicken! 😉 Can’t wait!