This recipe for tom kha gai soup (or Thai coconut chicken soup) is absolutely perfect. Rich and creamy yet spicy and salty at the same time, this Thai coconut chicken soup recipe is filling yet light and definitely packed with flavor. Best tom kha gai recipe I’ve ever made or tried. With Whole30, even paleo and vegan options.
My favorite Thai-inspired soup
Let’s go ahead and talk about the best soup of all time.
That’s right: tom kha soup. AKA Thai coconut chicken soup. AKA Tom Kha Gai.
So here’s the deal: this tom kha gai (Thai coconut chicken soup) is perfection. It’s creamy and a little bit sour and salty and a little sweet, and the chicken is tender, the mushrooms are filling, and the fresh cilantro adds the perfect herbaceous edge, and I can’t get enough of this soup. I don’t think you would never I need another recipe for Whole30 Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, or heck, a simple recipe for Non Whole30 Thai Coconut Chicken Soup for that matter, because this recipe is so damn good.
And you know what? I have a really solid story to go with this recipe.
Skip the takeaway and make it at home!
When I was in college, I fell in love with cooking. Like, making me fall to the ground, fall on my back, obsess me day after day falling in love. And so, being 2006, I opened an account on Recipezaar.com. I delved into my obsessions and how the only recipe I’ve always wanted to learn how to make fresh salsa from my favorite Mexican restaurant. In fact, you can read the story and get the recipe for best restaurant style sauce ever clicking here. You’ll thank me later (sure enough).
What happened was this: A guy from my college found my profile on Recipezaar.com and saw that recreating this sauce was a lifelong dream. She reached out to the head of marketing or the CEO or something at the restaurant in question and told her this sobbing story about how we were engaged and living abroad and had terrible homesickness and everything she wanted to do for Christmas was throwing me a giant party to remember at home, including this salsa that I loved so much, of course.
So what did she do? She gave him the recipe of course. ObviouslyAnd.
And then he gave me the recipe of course. Of. Course. And then we got to talk and …
No, our protagonist is not my husband and the father of my children (why wouldn’t that be damn too much?), But him done do the same for me later with this tom kha soup.
See, there is something in this recipe that is not like the others. Something better.
This tom kha soup is based on the outstanding dish found at a local restaurant chain in the state I went to college. It was different from the Thai coconut chicken soup I had had before and has sold me forever on Thai food. I couldn’t figure it out on my own, though, but it all made sense when he got me the secret recipe.
Because this is one of the best soup recipes Never
- There is a secret ingredient that adds flavor to this recipe of tom kha gai Thai coconut chicken soup that takes everything to the next level.
- It’s creamy and sweet and salty and spicy and shiny all rolled into one.
- This tom kha soup recipe is actually quite easy to make and requires no hard-to-find ingredients. You should be able to get everything from a traditional Western grocery store.
- I have included Whole30 And vegan options so you can enjoy this tom kha soup all the time, even if you are avoiding added sugars or don’t eat animal products.
A note from Cheryl: Years ago, we referred to some ingredients in this recipe as “weird,” a term we used erroneously to describe harder-to-find ingredients that are generally unfamiliar to the average American reader. By using this term, however, we have unwittingly helped promote the stigma that these ingredients are somehow “not normal”. It was never our intent, but it was our impact, and that’s what matters.
What is the secret ingredient?
It turns out it’s quite simple, really: red curry paste. Just a little red curry paste added to an otherwise rather traditional recipe for tom kha soup, to make it Street easier for me to do on a regular basis.
Speaking of easier … you can do it too swap ginger for galangal And swap fresh lime juice with makrut lime leaves. As much as I love the international market, I can’t get enough of it to satisfy my craving for Whole30 Thai Coconut Chicken Soup if I have to use those hard-to-find ingredients!
Where can i find lemongrass?
These days I find fresh lemongrass in the produce section of almost every grocery store. If you can’t find it fresh, though, you can usually find a chilled, chopped tube of it in the produce area. Ask your employee and tell him it’s important! You can’t make the best tom kha soup without it!
Can i make this vegan soup?
To make this tom kha soup vegan:
- Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- Replace the soy sauce with fish sauce.
- Add a 1-pound block of tofu, cut into small cubes, instead of the chicken.
And you won’t call it “tom kha gai” if you don’t use chicken. You can call it “tom kha tofu”!
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In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno or chilli, galangal or ginger, lemongrass and red curry paste and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until the onions have softened. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer without a lid for 30 minutes.
Drain the aromas (garlic, onions, lemongrass and ginger) and discard. Add the coconut cream or milk, chicken breast (or tofu or shrimp) and mushrooms. Simmer until the chicken breast pieces are just cooked through, then add the fish sauce, coconut aminos (or coconut sugar) and lime juice, plus more to taste.
Cook for 2 minutes, then pour into serving bowls and garnish with sliced green onions and fresh cilantro.
- Make sure you use coconut cream or coconut milk. Coco lopez and coconut cream are not the same as coconut cream / coconut milk and will not work in this recipe.
- To use the shrimp, simply mix 1 pound of raw shrimp instead of chicken. Simmer until well cooked, pink and no longer translucent.
- Do it whole30: Use compliant chicken broth. Use 2 tablespoons of coconut amino instead of coconut sugar. Use Red Boat Fish Sauce: This is the only fish sauce I’ve found compliant.
- Make it Vegan / Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth, preferably an Asian variety. Use a 1-pound block of firm or extra firm (plain or silky) tofu cut into cubes. For vegans, use soy sauce (to taste) instead of fish sauce.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 682kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 60g, Saturated fats: 52g, Polyunsaturated fats: 1g, Monounsaturated fat: 3g, trans fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 1266mg, Potassium: 1125mg, Fiber: 5g, Vitamin A: 374IU, C vitamin: 17mg, Soccer: 47mg, Iron: 5mg, Net carbohydrates: 13g
The number of total portions displayed is approximate. Actual number of servings wit will depend on the portion size you prefer.
The nutrition facts shown are general guidelines and reflect the information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on the specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of a serving, prepare the recipe as indicated. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. The result will be the weight of one serving.