Best Ever Tom Kha Gai Soup Recipe

Impress your mama in less than 30 minutes by making this delicious Thai coconut chicken soup! But let’s talk about eating food as medicine too shall we? While it is not a secret that this is one of the most popular Thai dishes that you can find in nearly every Thai restaurant overseas, it provides a lot of health benefits as well. I’d like to say that this is one of my yummy medicine!

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Essential herbs in this dish

Tom Yum and Tom Kha  herb
Tom Yum and Tom Kha herb

Yes the herbs in the dish are tough to chew unless you use the young and tender ones, but remember that similar to drinking herbal tea you still can enjoy some benefits from them. Also, I’d like to note to the Thai food fans that Tom Kha and Tom Yum soup use the very same main herbs!

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you. I only recommend products I believe will be helpful to you. If you decide to purchase products through my links, please know that I truly thank you.

Galangal or “Kha”

This herb is often is confused with ginger because both are roots. Galangal is however is lighter in color but more tough in texture. They also don’t taste the same. In Thailand, it is not hard to find the young galangal so you can chew on and eat it. For this reason, most restaurants will take it out of the soup for you before serving. However, when I slice them thin enough my American husband just eat the mature galangal in the soup without any issues. Galangal root is a rich source of antioxidants, helps to improve memory, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Read more about Galangal’s health benefits from Realsimple.


This herb may help prevent growth of bacteria and yeast. It stimulate the uterus and menstrual flow and just like galangal it is full of antioxidant properties hence you see some companies now make lemongrass tea for sale. Read more about the lemongrass benefits from Healthline.

Kaffir lime leaves or Makrut lime leaves

Makrut lime leaves release the essential oil which helps to reduce stress. It also promotes oral health and makes your hair smell nice and shiny. Well for the hair, I actually grew up using the juice from the Makrut lime fruit to wash my hair. To me the best shampoo for my hair is made of the Makrut lime! If you are still unsure about Makrut lime and its benefits, please check out the article from UScitrus.


Shallots strengthen blood vessels as well as promoting heart and bones health. (Healthline) This one is not tough and you can definitely eat them unless you hate the plants from the onion families :). To me it provides the extra sweetness to the broth as well.

Tom Kha Gai

Recipe Notes:

  1. Using a lot of vegetables in this soup meaning mushrooms and cabbage will give you enough sweetness without having to add any sugar. However, if you choose to use only mushrooms, you may need to add another 1 and a half table spoon of sugar in the soup. I intend to make this recipe healthy, yummy, and yielding more servings so I added green cabbage to it as well.
  2. Mushrooms that are really good for this dish are oyster mushrooms, straw mushrooms, and sometimes the seafood mushrooms. I don’t recommend using the button mushrooms as it is actually the wrong texture for the dish. However, if you are used to eating it that way as many restaurants in the United States use them, you can go ahead and enjoy it that way.
  3. Galangal or “Kha” is the most essential herb in the dish. If you can not find the fresh ones, you may use the dried ones. Here’s the link for it. I normally buy the fresh ones from the Asian market, slice, and freeze them. They freeze will but I have also used the dried ones too.

Let’s get to the recipe! Also, feel free to post any questions that you may have regarding to the recipe. I’d love to hear from you.

Tom Kha Gai

Tom Kha Gai

Mary Thatcher
Authentic Tom Kha Gai or the Thai Coconut Soup Recipe. No sugar added.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course curry, dinner, Soup
Cuisine asian, thai
Servings 5
Calories 600 kcal



  • 1.5 lbs boneless chicken thigh
  • 1/2 cup green cabbage
  • 5 slices galangal Click on the link for dried galangal.
  • 5-6 leaves Kaffir lime (Makrut) lime leaves
  • 2 lemongrass sliced bias
  • 3-4 shallots or half onion
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind concentrate Click on the link for the brand that I use.
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 7 tbsp fish sauce Click on the link for the brand that I use.
  • 900 mL water
  • 600 mL coconut milk Click on the link for the brand that I use.
  • 4-5 dried chilies optional for garnishing
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil optional
  • 3 cups oyster mushrooms
  • cilantro for garnishing
  • fresh chilies for garnishing


Broth Preparation
  • Boil the water. Mean while slice galangal, lemongrass, shallots, and devein Makrut lime leaves. Slice galangal and lemongrass quite big if you are not planning to eat them and not leaving them in the soup. That way you can take them out after the broth is giving some fragrant smell. Add the herbs into the water and 1.5 tbsp tamarind concentrate. Let the water and herb boiled.
  • Cut the chicken thigh into bite sizes. You can have the chicken with skin on or no skin. The nutrition facts provided is with the skin on.
  • Once the water and herbs are boiling, use the medium heat and add the chicken. Cover the lid or not (it's up to you) for 10 minutes. Do not stir. We don't want the chicken smell at this time.
Prepare vegetable and garnish while cooking the chicken
  • Optional : Fry some small dried chilies for about 30 seconds or until fragrant. This is for the look and the smell. I did that the first thing in my video because I don't want to wash too many dishes 🙂
  • Cut the roots of the mushrooms that may be tough and have some dirt off. Wash and tear into bite size if needed. Cut the cabbage into bite sizes as well.
  • Chop some cilantro and fresh chilies for garnish.
  • Slice and squeeze fresh lime to have about 2 table spoons. Get it ready.
Assemble, seasoning, and plating
  • Take the scum or extra fat that floating around out if any. Take the Makrut lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal slices out if you'd like to make sure that your guests and family wont accidentally eat them. They have pungent taste and tough texture but good for your health. In Thailand, we leave them in the dish as garnish.
  • Add the mushroom and cabbage then season the soup with fish sauce. Wait for the soup to boil again (2-3 minutes).
  • Add the coconut milk and taste the soup for the saltiness and sweetness. We add the coconut milk toward the end as we don't want the fat to separate unlike other thicker curry such as Panang or red curry. Let the soup boiled for another minute and turn the heat off.
  • Add the lime juice. Stir and get the final taste to see if you'd like to adjust the taste. Garnish the soup with fried dried chilies, fresh chilies, and cilantro. Serve with steam rice or just enjoy this heavenly soup by itself!


Serving: 2cupCalories: 600kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 28gFat: 50gSaturated Fat: 28gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 133mgSodium: 2121mgPotassium: 920mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 249IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 6mg
Keyword chicken soup, coconut soup, curry, soup
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Similar Posts