If you love Thai food as much as we do, you’ll be excited to hear all about how we cracked the code to making homemade tom kha gai (Thai coconut soup) from the comfort of our own kitchen. It’s creamy and flavorful, plus it’s got plenty of protein and nutrients from all the yummy stuff we put in there. If you haven’t tried it before, tom kha gai is a sometimes spicy, tangy, coconut milk-based soup, with plenty of mushrooms and a red bell pepper thrown in for good measure. It’s got a wonderful, unique flavor that we can’t get enough of, so knowing we can now make it whenever the craving hits is big news for us.
We started by “making” the broth base of our soup by adding fresh lemongrass (crushed gently to release more flavor), onion, ginger and lime juice to six cups of chicken stock. Bring that to a boil, then let it simmer for a while before straining out the solids – we’ll just be using the broth for this. You could still have a very tasty soup even if you skipped this step…but don’t! The lemongrass and ginger make all the difference here and truly make this soup special: definitely our favorite part. Then add in some cooked chicken – it’s not essential, but makes this more filling – lots of mushrooms, plus the red bell pepper. A dash of fish sauce balances out the creaminess of the coconut milk and a pinch of sugar keeps the tang of the soup from becoming too sour. We’re completely hooked!
Thai food is definitely one of our favorite cuisines, so being able to slowly-but-surely add classic Thai dishes into our recipe rotation is very satisfying (and cost-effective instead of always going out to restaurants). Tom kha gai is an excellent option for lunch or dinner, appetizer or main course – you can’t go wrong with it! Adding chicken means it’ll fill you up a bit more, but even if you just stick with mushrooms and bell pepper, you’ve got yourself a soup that has amazing flavor and that you can make in well under an hour. It doesn’t get better than this, folks!
Tom Kha Gai
Serves 6-8; 35 minutes
- 2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves/layers removed
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into cubes
- 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 4 green onions, finely chopped (on the diagonal), whites and greens separated
- 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 1 (8 oz.) package mixed mushrooms (white, cremini, oyster, or shitake), thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 2 (13.5 oz.) cans full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- cilantro, Thai red chiles, fresh limes
- As you would crush a clove of garlic, smash lemongrass stalk, then cut into small cubes and place in stock pot.
- Add onion, ginger and whites of green onions, then pour in lime juice and chicken broth. Optional: place solids in a colander inside stock pot, then pour in liquids.
- Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Strain out solids (or remove colander), then add in cooked chicken, mushrooms, bell pepper, coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar.
- Raise heat to medium-high and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Serve with remaining green onions, fresh limes and sliced red chiles, and serve hot.