Thai Cooking: Tom Kha Gai Recipe

Tom Kha Goong

Enjoying Tom Kha Goong in Thailand.

We weren’t going to give away any more of Chef Aon’s recipes from our cooking class in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but this ubiquitous Thai soup is just too good not to share. We have used Chef Aon’s recipe to make this soup a couple times since returning to the States. The delicious flavors immediately bring us right back to Thailand. Enjoy!

For this recipe, you can make tom kha gai or tom kha goong. Gai means chicken and goong means shrimp. Some of these ingredients may be difficult for Westerners to find fresh (like galangal and lime leaves) unless you go to an Asian grocery store. If your local supermarket has an international section, you may be able to find these items preserved in jars. Just don’t buy them pickled!

Tom Kha Gai, serves 2


Juice from half a lime
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp white sugar

2 cups water
1 stick lemongrass, sliced 3” long to drop in whole (hit the stalk with your knife blade to crush it a little – helps release more flavor)
2 inches galangal (or ginger root), sliced into 1” chunks
2 pieces of whole Kaffir lime leaves, crease in half without breaking it to release flavor
1 can coconut milk, shake well
1 can or 8 oz fresh straw mushrooms, sliced in half
1 Roma tomato, sliced into eight wedges (or handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half)
4 ounces chicken (or shrimp), cut bite-sized

Handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

Step 1: In a bowl, mix together the seasoning and put to the side.

Step 2: Heat water in a pot and bring to a boil. Then add lemongrass, galangal (or ginger) and lime leaves. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add coconut milk and bring to a boil. Then add half of the seasoning mixture and reduce to a simmer. Stir in mushrooms, tomatoes and chicken (or shrimp) and let simmer until the meat is cooked and the tomatoes are tender but not too soft.

Step 4: Taste the soup to determine how much more seasoning it needs. Stir in the remainder if desired, then turn off the heat.

Step 5: Transfer to bowls, top with cilantro and a squeeze of a lime wedge. Enjoy!


7 responses to “Thai Cooking: Tom Kha Gai Recipe

  1. Yum! I have a sneaking suspicion that this is the Pad Thai of soups in Thailand (i.e., foreigners order it but locals never do!) but who cares about that when it tastes so good? And now especially that we’re laid up sick here in Nepal, we’d kill for a big steaming bowl of this. The flavors are magical and each spoonful is like a party in your mouth! Glad to hear you were able to recreate it back home; that’s the sign of a great recipe!

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