Tom Kha Gai – Thai Chicken Soup

If you have known me, or followed my recipes, you realize that I’m a big fan of most ethnic food, including that of Thai cuisine. With that said, don’t get startled by words such as Kha, or Gai. Gai is chicken in the Thai language, as Tom represents a boiling process or soup. So when broken down, we are dealing with a chicken soup flavored with galangal and other awesome ingredients.  I have been on a continuous drive to create dishes that are loaded with balance, and in this particular one, I was driven to make a spicy, sweet, and sour soup, that had everything you wanted in Thai flavor in one spoonful.

Tom Kha Gai - Thai Chicken Soup Recipe

When my wife took her first bite, she stated that it felt as though someone wrapped her up in a blanket and gave her a nice big hug. I knew I must have did something right when making this soup. Now when you look at the ingredients, don’t get startled. If anything, seek them out and try something new.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • 2 whole chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 8 oz can straw mushrooms, drained, rinsed, ends trimmed
  • 6 Thai bird’s eye chilies, smashed
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, stems removed, leaves torn in half
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, top part trimmed and removed, smashed
  • 3 inch piece of galangal, cut into coins
  • 5 tbsp fish sauce, more to taste
  • 16 oz canned coconut milk
  • 2 whole limes
  • Thai basil, or fresh cilantro
  • Jasmine rice, cooked

How to make Thai Chicken Soup

Begin by adding your chicken pieces, skin side up, to a slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper, and add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Cook on high for 4 hours, then remove the chicken. Reserve the stock.

I poured my stock into my OXO fat seperator, and let me just say, I love this thing. It allows you to quickly strain any bits, and allows for a clean pour of enriched stock, removing any of the fat. So pour the stock into your soup pot, and set it aside.

Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Pull the chicken apart with a couple of forks. It should be super tender. Add the chicken to the stock, and bring that up to medium heat.

Slice your mushrooms in half, vertically.

Tom Kha Gai Recipe

Add the mushrooms, coconut milk, Thai chilies, lemongrass, and galangal into the pot. Give a good stir, and let that come to a simmer.

Once simmering, lower the heat, and let the ingredients infuse the stock, cooking for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, toss in the lime juice, and fish sauce. Stir, and cook another 5 minutes or so.

To serve, add some of the cooked rice into your soup bowl, and ladle in a generous amount of the soup, keeping all ingredients together. Inform your guest that they should not eat the lemongrass, kaffir, nor galangal. Those are really only there for flavor. Toss in some basil, and dig in.

Your end result is a bowl of comfort. It has that perfect balance of sweet, spice, and sour, and when eaten with rice, well, things just keep getting better. If you are looking for a great soup, that has Thai flavors and that balance in food you are looking for, give this one a shot. It is perfect any time of the year, but especially good during a cold afternoon. I hope you enjoy.

Tom Kha Gai - Thai Chicken Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 whole chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • 2 whole chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 8 oz can straw mushrooms, drained, rinsed, ends trimmed
  • 6 Thai bird’s eye chilies, smashed
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, stems removed, leaves torn in half
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, top part trimmed and removed, smashed
  • 3 inch piece of galangal, cut into coins
  • 5 tbsp fish sauce, more to taste
  • 16 oz canned coconut milk
  • 2 whole limes
  • Thai basil, or fresh cilantro
  • Jasmine rice, cooked
Instructions
  1. Begin by adding your chicken pieces, skin side up, to a slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper, and add 2 cups of the chicken stock. Cook on high for 4 hours, then remove the chicken. Reserve the stock.
  2. I poured my stock into my OXO fat seperator, and let me just say, I love this thing. It allows you to quickly strain any bits, and allows for a clean pour of enriched stock, removing any of the fat. So pour the stock into your soup pot, along with the additional 2 cups of stock, and set it aside.
  3. Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Pull the chicken apart with a couple of forks. It should be super tender. Add the chicken to the stock, and bring that up to medium heat.
  4. Slice your mushrooms in half, vertically.
  5. Add the mushrooms, coconut milk, Thai chilies, lemongrass, and galangal into the pot. Give a good stir, and let that come to a simmer.
  6. Once simmering, lower the heat, and let the ingredients infuse the stock, cooking for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, toss in the lime juice, and fish sauce. Stir, and cook another 5 minutes or so.
  7. To serve, add some of the cooked rice into your soup bowl, and ladle in a generous amount of the soup, keeping all ingredients together. Inform your guest that they should not eat the lemongrass, kaffir, nor galangal. Those are really only there for flavor. Toss in some basil, and dig in.

 

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Dax Phillips

Thank you for visiting my website. Truly, I do appreciate it. My free time and stress reliever is cooking for my family, friends, and everyone in between. The recipes you find on this site are those that I have either created, been part of, or those that I simply enjoy and have made my own in some shape, form, or other. My focus has always been on comfort food, because at the end of a long work day, you want something comforting. I currently am the father of three children, and married to a wonderful wife of thirteen years. There is nothing fancy with these recipes, just simple, and I will admit, not so simple ingredients, and a simple kitchen corner I can call my own. I learned early on that cooking and bringing family together was very important. After all, this notion of being together at dinner time was instilled early on by my parents. There are many memories of being in the kitchen with my parents, watching them cook, or preparing meals, or those home cooked smells while waiting for dinner. My parents who worked full-time, always had home cooked meals during the week, with the exception of Friday nights where we would enjoy a Wisconsin fish fry, and often on late afternoons on Sunday, where we would order Ann's pizza. I tend to cook by making things up. As a home cook, I think you have to take chances, and add or subtract ingredients that make up a dish, and make them your own. Remember to taste, and taste often. If a dish has potential, try it again, and make it your own. You should also note that I do not count calories, or break down recipes into grams of anything. To me, that's a bit boring. My philosophy is that if the food is good, eat it, and eat it in moderation. Life is just too short not to enjoy good food. Commonly Asked Questions: Can I use your photography/content on my website/blog? Please do not redistribute my photography or recipes without my permission. All of the recipes and photography on this website are my own unless noted, and is subjected to copyright  If you’d like to use a photograph or a recipe, please contact me for permission. Will you review my product/book/site? I am available for recipe development, food photography and/or styling, travel/press events, product reviews, brand promotion/ambassador, and sponsored posts. If you are interested in working with me, or if you have a question/comment regarding a recipe or about my blog, please send me an email.

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