Our Thai coconut chicken soup packs big flavor (and a little heat, too)! You’ll love the combination of vegetables, tender chicken, Thai aromatics, and red curry in this broth-y soup. The coconut milk gives it that pleasant sweetness that Thai cuisine is known for and we are all about it!
We love a good, steamy bowl of Thai coconut chicken curry soup, piled high with fresh Thai basil and green onions. In fact, that combination of freshness, spiciness, and sweetness is one of the factors that make Thai cuisine so crave-worthy!
Thai coconut chicken soup, sometimes referred to as Tom Kha Gai (but I believe only if it is made the authentic way using galangal, or Siamese ginger), is a simple soup to make. It’s an easy Thai soup recipe that will satisfy any Thai cuisine craving without leaving the house!
If you love the flavors of Thai curry we also have a made-from-scratch Thai yellow curry paste. Make a large batch and freeze it for flavor bombs in all your cooking. Add it to our carrot soup or butternut curry soup for a special twist of Thai flavors.
how to make this delicious Thai soup
What sets Tom Kha Gai apart from other Thai soups is the use of coconut milk. It gives it the perfect amount of creaminess and sweetness, and it’s a must-have ingredient for this chicken curry soup!
Here are the ingredients you will need to make Thai coconut chicken soup:
- red curry paste
- garlic cloves
- chicken- breasts or thighs that are cut into thin, bite-sized pieces
- chicken broth
- lime leaves (optional)
- galangal or ginger root, peeled and grated
- lemongrass paste
- Thai basil, chopped
- white pepper
- canned, full-fat coconut milk
- fish sauce
- brown sugar
- lime juice, freshly squeezed
- green onions, sliced thin for garnish
What kind of coconut milk do you use in soup? We like to use canned, full-fat coconut milk that is unsweetened. Make sure to buy full-fat instead of “lite” coconut milk because that ensures it has the most coconut cream (the thick, white cream that tends to separate toward the top).
This soup will be ready in less than 30 minutes! Here’s how it’s done (make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page to check out the full recipe):
- Cook the aromatics- In a large soup pot or saucepan, cook the onions in the coconut oil until they soften. Stir in the curry paste and garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Bring the soup to a boil – Add the chicken strips and mushrooms. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add in the chicken broth, lime leaves, galangal (or ginger), lemongrass paste, Thai basil, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Finishing touches- Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Serve the soup garnished with fresh lime slices and Thai basil sprigs.
Is Thai soup healthy?
With the chicken, mushrooms, and fresh vegetables, Tom Khai Gai is a soup full of nutrients. It is low in carbohydrates and has a healthy dose of protein. The garlic and ginger is especially beneficial, as both are widely known to be anti-inflammatory. Another reason to go back for seconds!
pro tips and sourcing ingredients
If finding ingredients like galangal or lime leaves sounds intimidating, we’ve got you! The ingredients in this soup are actually quite easy to source.
Galangal is a member of the ginger family. It’s sometimes known as Siamese ginger, and if you’re having trouble finding it you can use regular ginger instead. Their flavors are somewhat different- (galangal has sweeter notes while regular ginger is spicier) however they are great substitutions for each other.
Lime leaves are often located with the small, flat packets of fresh herbs in the grocery store.
You can find tubes of lemongrass paste in most grocery stores in the produce department (sometimes near the fresh herbs).
on using coconut milk
Do not boil the soup once the coconut milk is added as it may curdle. If you want an extra creamy soup texture, you can use one can of coconut milk and one can of coconut cream instead of two cans of coconut milk.
This Thai coconut curry soup is just as good as your favorite Thai restaurant’s! It’s the perfect Asian-inspired comfort dish- a satisfying blend of flavors that is ready to enjoy in no time!
SOME OTHER RECIPES WE ARE SURE YOU WILL LOVE:
- Lemongrass-Coconut Steamed Mussels: Plump, succulent and delicious! We steamed the mussels in an awesome Asian-style broth of lemongrass, coconut milk and Thai basil.
- Thai Pumpkin Soup: Canned pumpkin, a balance of spices and the flavor of coconut cream makes this soup a winner!
- Salmon with Thai Yellow Curry: Moist broiled fillets of Salmon with Thai Yellow Curry. A fast and easy weeknight dinner!
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- 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 onion, sliced into half moons
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 5 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- 1 pound chicken, breast or thighs cut into thin bite size pieces
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cup chicken broth
- 2-3 lime leaves (optional)
- 1 3-inch galangal, or ginger root,peeled and grated
- 2 tablespoons lemongrass paste
- 3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper (or black if you don’t mind the specks)
- 2 15-ounce cans coconut milk, full fat
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced, for garnish
- In a large saucepan or soup pot set over medium-high heat, melt the coconut oil and stir in the onions and cook until softened; stir in curry paste and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the chicken strips and mushrooms, sauté for 2-3 minutes. (see notes)
- Pour in the chicken broth, add the lime leaves, galangal or ginger, lemongrass paste, Thai basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sliced green onions
- If using chicken thighs sauté for 6 to 8 minutes. The chicken continues to cook while simmering.
- Lime leaves are located with the small flat packets of fresh herbs
- You can find tube of lemongrass paste in most major grocery stores in the produce dept.
- Do not boil the soup once the coconut milk is added as it may curdle the soup.
- For an extra creamy texture use 1 can of coconut milk and 1 can of coconut cream instead of the 2 cans of coconut milk.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 servings Serving Size: 1-1/2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 547Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1731mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 34g
Nutrition information is a guideline only, is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.