Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

We are in the thick of soup-season around here. I’ll be sharing lots of soup recipes with you over the next couple of months, mainly because it’s what I’m cooking! This particular recipe caught my eye because of its coconut milk base. I am a total sucker for anything with coconut milk — and in this soup it makes such a luscious broth with big flavors from ginger root, and lemon grass. Also, it’s quick and easy and as a mom of small people, I have resigned myself to the fact that the super complicated recipes will just be collecting dust for a while. That’s ok by me, as long as I continue eating well. This soup won’t disappoint.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup: Tom Kha Gai

Recipe adapted from Sunset Best Ever Chicken Recipes

Note: Serves 8-10.  Can be made a day in advance and gently reheated if you are hosting a crowd. Recipe can also be halved if you just want a small pot for yourself! 


  • 2, 14-oz. cans of coconut milk (I used one regular, one “light” because that’s what was on hand)
  • 6-8 cups chicken broth
  • 12 quarter-sized slices of peeled ginger root
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 large chicken breasts, bone in, skinned (about 3 lbs.)
  • 3 cups (or so) sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, or a touch more
  • 2 Tbsp. Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. Thai chili paste (or Thai red curry paste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh, shredded basil leaves
  • lime wedges
  • basmati rice as an accompaniment (2 cups uncooked rice, combined with 4 cups water seems to be a good amount)


  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, combine coconut milk, broth, ginger, and lemongrass and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add chicken, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer with lid on until chicken is cooked (15-30 minutes depending on size of breasts, and your altitude).
  3. Remove chicken and cut it off the bone and into large chunks and add it back to the soup. Remove any lemon grass that you run across (or just tell your guests to leave it in the bowl, as I did).
  4. Spoon freshly cooked basmati rice into bowls (1/2 cup or so), and then ladle soup over the rice and garnish with the cilantro and basil. Serve with lime wedges for a fresh squeeze over the top.
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One Response to Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

  1. Mary Beth says:

    Yum!! Ingredients are now on my grocery list – fresh and fulfilling in winter!!!!

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