Tom Kha Gai: Spicy Chicken, Coconut Milk, Ginger, Cilantro, and Lime Soup

I’ve been on a soup kick this winter and wanted to share one of my favorites, Tom Kha Gai. Spicy, savory and rich with coconut milk this winter soup will warm your bones. This version calls for chicken breasts and chicken stock.

Cooking for vegetarians? Sub veggie stock for the chicken stock and add veggies (celery, carrots, potatoes…) instead of chicken. This recipe is pretty forgiving so feel free to experiment.


Tom Kha soup feb 2013


  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • one 15 oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1-2 whole dried thai chillies diced, or a pinch of dried chile flakes
  • 1-2 inches of freshly grated ginger
  • 2 sticks of lemongrass
  • 2 thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp of brown sugar
  • juice from one fresh lime
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • small bunch of chopped green onions
  • handful of cilantro
  • one thinly sliced red bell pepper

1. Bring chicken broth, coconut milk, dried chillies, ginger, lemongrass (and any additional veggies) to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes.

2. Add sliced chicken breast and cook for two minutes.

3. Add fish sauce, brown sugar and lime juice.

4.  In separate serving bowls assemble mushrooms, green onions, cilantro and red peppers to your liking (this recipe should make four large servings).

5. To serve, pour soup over veggies. Cover and let sit for two minutes.

6. Enjoy!