Thai Chicken Soup ( Tom Kha )

OK folks, this is a mainstay in our house: Tom Gai ( or Tom Gai Kha, if you use chicken ).


The star here is the soup. We like chicken but if you’re vegetarian, omit it. You will have enough soup left over to use again. Just strain it, reheat and add shrimp and serve it the second time over jasmine rice.

• 1 tablespoon canola oil or vegetable oil
• 1 -2 stalk lemongrass, outer sheath removed, bottom 3 inches trimmed and minced (3 tablespoons)
• 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
• 1 large garlic clove, minced
• 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
• 4 cups homemade vegetable stock or chicken stock or 4 cups canned low sodium, chicken or vegetable stock
• 3 tablespoons fish sauce or 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 (14 ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
• 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 by 1/4-inch strips (about 12 ounces)
• 1 standard pkg of chopped mushrooms
• 3 tablespoons lime juice
• salt
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, loosely packed
• 3 scallions, greens only, sliced thin on an angle


  1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the lemon grass, ginger, and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.
  2. Add 1/2 cup stock to the pot and stir to dissolve the curry paste. Add the remaining stock, fish sauce or soy sauce, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer to blend flavors, about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken, mushrooms, and lime juice. Bring back to a simmer and cook until the stock is hot and the chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt if desired. Serve immediately, garnishing each bowl with cilantro and scallions.