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Tom Kha Gai, Your new favorite Chicken Soup!


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Tom Kha Gai is one of my wife’s favorite comfort foods. I’ve adapted this recipe from a great one I found on, and have made it multiple times (repeating any recipe is very rare for me, but this recipe is that good!) This soup is sour, spicy, slightly sweet and completely delicious.

Adaptations from the original:

  • Using a cheesecloth “bouquet garni” to contain the aromatics I don’t want to eat around in the final product.
  • Use of homemade pickled Thai Chilies (fresh availability in Bellingham, WA is inconsistent) – recipe in future post
  • Adding some Korean Red Chili for extra spice
  • Use of Shiitake Mushrooms even though it is advised against in the original recipe.
  • Use of Chicken Thighs instead of Chicken Breasts

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 2 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed sliced into 1 inch pieces and smashed
  • 3 inch section of Galangal (Thai Ginger), sliced into thin rounds
  • 8 Thai Chilies, smashed
  • 4 Lime Leaves, sliced thin
  • 1 piece of Cheesecloth to wrap aromatics
  • 3 c. Chicken Stock
  • 2 cans of Coconut Milk
  • 1 small Onion, quartered and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 c. Shiitake Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Korean Red Chili, minced
  • 5 boneless skinless Chicken Thighs, chopped into bitesize pieces
  • 5 Limes, juiced
  • 6 T. Fish Sauce
  • 2 T. Palm Sugar or Brown Sugar
  • Handful of Cilantro, chopped


  • Cut bottoms and remove outer leaves from 2 stalks of Lemongrass, slice into 1 inch pieces and smash with meat tenderizer or back of knife.
  • Slice 3 inch section of Galangal into thin rounds, no need to peel.
  • Smash 8 Thai Chilies with meat tenderizer or back of knife.
  • Thinly slice 4 lime leaves.
  • Wrap Lemongrass, Galangal, Thai Chilies, and Lime Leaves in Cheesecloth and tie in a bouquet garni bundle.
  • Place bouquet garni, 3 cups of Chicken Stock and 2 cans of Coconut Milk in soup pot and bring to a low boil.
  • Quarter and thinly slice 1 small Onion.
  • Slice 2 cups of Shiitake Mushrooms.
  • Mince 1/2 Korean Red Chili.
  • Chop 5 boneless/skinless Chicken Thighs into bite sized pieces.
  • Add 1 quartered and sliced Onion, 2 cups sliced Mushroom, 1/2 minced Korean Chili, and 5 chopped Chicken Thighs to soup pot, cook at low boil for 15 minutes.
  • Remove bouquet garni, straining out liquid into soup pot. Discard bouquet garni.
  • Add Juice of 5 limes, 6 T. Fish Sauce and 2 T. Sugar to soup pot and stir Tom Kha Gai, remove soup pot from heat
  • Serve Tom Kha Gai with h and garnish with chopped Cilantro

Recipe adapted from: 

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