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Thai Coconut Chicken Soup - Tom Kah Gai

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


4 medium slices of dried galangal root, or four fresh galangal slices

¼ cup water to rehydrate, if using dried galangal

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

¼ cup shallots, diced

1 tablespoon lemongrass paste* or finely minced fresh lemongrass, minced fine

¼ to 1 teaspoon dry red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

3 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

½ pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into ½-inch cubes

1 cup white button mushrooms, sliced

1 cup fresh tomato, diced

½ tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 kaffir leaves, cut in half

Cilantro for garnish


If you are using dried galangal, heat the water to boiling in microwave and add dried galangal slices. Let steep while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a medium pot, add oil and heat over medium heat.

Add shallots, lemon grass, chili flakes and garlic chili paste and cook 30 seconds.

Add the whole slices of galangal along with water used to rehydrate (if using dried), along with chicken stock, fish sauce, sugar and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

Add chicken, mushrooms and tomato and bring to a second boil.

Remove from heat and add lime juice and kaffir leaves.

Let sit five minutes.

Serve but do not consume galangal slices or kaffir leaves but leave them in pot to strengthen flavor.

Garnish servings with cilantro.


*For the best quality, shop for fresh lemongrass at an Asian market. We can also typically find lemongrass at our local, traditional supermarkets but the quality is often poor and dried out. Instead, look for fresh lemongrass paste – it is often sold in a tube in the produce aisle with other Asian specialty ingredients. It keeps quite a while in the refrigerator.