Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)

Tom Kha Gai Soup

I haven’t been in the kitchen like this in a while, but it’s nice to be back. With my healthy lifestyle, I’ve mostly been eating very simple, basic foods who’s calories can be accounted for pretty easily in my LoseIt app.

Today I was feeling particularly nostalgic for a soup I discovered a few years ago when I went to my first Thai restaurant: Tom Kha Gai, a rich, savory soup with coconut milk, tamarind soup base, and chicken. I’ve made this soup in the past, but it’s been a long time so I decided to recreate it, this time documenting the recipe. There’s an alternate version of this soup called Tom Yum Gai (same  flavors, no coconut milk), but I love the pairing of rich coconut milk with the sour tamarind soup base and haven’t been able to stray.

Tom Kha Gai

For the Broth

  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can of coconut milk (regular, but you can use light)
  • 1 stalk lemon grass (the dried stuff doesn’t compare, but use it if you have to)
  • 1 inch piece of galangal root (use ginger if you can’t find it)
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar (or light brown sugar if you can’t find it)
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
  • 1 bunch cilantro stalks

Soup Components

  • 1 – 2 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 can straw mushrooms
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind soup base, or more depending on how sour you like it (also known as Sinigang to Filipinos)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Cilantro
  • Lime

First, make the soup. Peel and slice the galangal or ginger. Wash the cilantro stalks (the stalks have a lot of flavor and will hold up better on a high simmer). In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat, add all the broth ingredients (chicken broth, coconut milk, lemon grass, galangal or ginger, palm sugar, chili garlic sauce, cilantro stalks). Bring to a high simmer for at least 15 minutes. Strain broth and return to medium high heat.

Add the soup components (chicken breasts, straw mushrooms, tomato, tamarind soup base, and fish sauce). For this amount of soup, I only used 1/2 packet of the tamarind soup base, but if you like your soup sour, you may want to add more. Simmer on medium high heat for 30 minutes.

When ready to serve, chop a handful of cilantro and add to soup. Serve with lime wedges.

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