How to make Chicken Coconut Soup and the recipes of Chicken Coconut Soup

Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Ka Kai)

This soup is deceptively easy to make, but boasts all the wonderful flavors Thai cuisine is beloved for. Serve as a first course, or with a bowl of rice or rice noodles for a complete meal. Omit the coconut milk for a lighter-tasting soup.

Time: 45 minutes
Makes: 6 to 8 first-course servings or 4 main-course servings


  • 13½-ounce can coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock (recipe on page 42)
  • 2 plump stalks lemongrass, trimmed, bruised (see page 10), and halved
  • 1-inch piece (1 ounce) young galangal, cut into 6 coins
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup fresh or canned mushrooms (button, straw, or shiitakes), sliced (optional)
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 6 red Thai chilies, smashed with the butt of a knife (if you don’t like it too spicy, use less), plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons lime juice (from 3 large)
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. In a large pot, bring the coconut milk, stock, lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the chicken, mushrooms, fish sauce, sugar, and chilies and return everything to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the lime juice. Simmer until the chicken is fully cooked (cut into a piece to test), 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  4. Fish out the herbs and discard. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with cilantro leaves and 1 chili per bowl.

Leave a Comment