Recipe: Authentic Tom Kha Gai with chicken

A meaty alternative to the Thai coconut soup with veggies!

A white bowl, placed on a marble tile, containing authentic tom kha gai chicken soup.
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Tom Kha Gai quite literally translates to Chicken Galangal Soup. That’s pretty much the main attraction of this authentic Tom Kha Gai recipe, and what a glorious one at that!

Galangal is a magic ingredient that provides a rich, unique flavour to the soup. Homemade coconut milk provides an added flavour boost too. The main thing to keep in mind while stewing this: don’t boil the coconut milk. Apart from that, you’re set for a winner!

On a marble tile, a white bowl filled with a cream coloured liquid containing chicken, chillies, broccoli, lime wedges and a sprig of coriander
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We said this for our veggie Tom Kha Gai, and we’ll say this here as well: make your own coconut milk! It’s fun and doesn’t take up too much of your time either. You can even make it an activity for date night – cook the soup with them, from scratch. Pretty romantic, we’d say!

Tom Kha Gai with Chicken

Course: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Eat - Soups
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
50 minutes
Yield: 2


  • 1 no. Fresh Coconut (fresh )
  • 1 Chicken Breast (cut into medium-sized pieces)
  • 2 cups Button Mushrooms (quartered)
  • 1 Red Onion (roughly chopped)
  • 5 Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
  • 2 Red Chilies (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp Coriander / Cilantro (roughly chopped)
  • 3 Lemongrass (stalks)
  • 1 ½ tsp Lemon zest
  • 1 ½ tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Palm Sugar
  • 2 tbsps Coconut Cream
  • Black Pepper Powder (to taste)
  • Salt (to taste)


  • High speed blender
  • Cooking pot


Making the coconut milk

  • Grate 1 whole coconut and add it to a high-speed mixer, add 1 cup water and blend it well
  • Transfer this to a bowl covered with a muslin cloth and squeeze out the liquid. This is thick coconut milk already!
  • Transfer the pulp back into the mixer, add another cup of water and blend it well.
  • Repeat the squeezing out process into a separate bowl and you have your medium-thick coconut milk.
  • Now repeat the process again, by taking the leftover pulp from this squeeze and blending it again with water
  • Transfer to a third bowl covered with the muslin cloth and squeeze out the liquid. This is your thin coconut milk!

Making the soup

  • In a cooking pot, pour thin coconut milk and add lemongrass and galangal
  • Place this on a stovetop and bring it to boil over a medium flame
  • Add pieces of the chicken breast and stir well
  • Once the milk starts to thicken, add medium thick coconut milk and red chillies. Mix it well
  • Add mushrooms and onions and cook for 2 minutes
  • Add cherry tomatoes, and cook for another couple of minutes
  • Add salt to taste as per your preference, and allow the chicken to cook thoroughly over a medium flame
  • Once the chicken is cooked, reduce the heat to a low flame and add thick coconut milk, cilantro, lime juice, lemon zest, palm sugar and pepper.
  • Mix it well and let it cook for 2 minutes
  • Add 2 tbsp of coconut cream, right before you turn the flame off
  • Carefully remove the galangal and lemongrass just before serving
  • Pour into a soup bowl and serve piping hot!
  • This authentic Tom Kha Gai is a protein-rich soup to have for lazy weeknights. Make ahead of time, and reheat on a stove or in the microwave. 

Whip up the soup for a date night at home! You can’t go wrong with a hot Thai dish.

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