Tom Ka Gai

Tom Ka Gai

This classic chicken and coconut soup gets its rich and dynamic flavor from quintessential Thai ingredients: coconut milk, lemongrass, fresh ginger, lime juice, fish sauce, chile paste, basil, and cilantro. While warming and thoroughly comforting, this dish comes together incredibly quickly. 


  • 6 - 8 slices dried or frozen galangal
  • 5 - 6 whole stalks fresh lemon grass, cut into 3-inch lengths (or 7-8 stalks dried, soaked 30 minutes and chopped)
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 5 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken, cut into ½ x ½ x 1 inch pieces
  • Seasonings
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons fish soy (nam pla)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 3-5 fresh red chili peppers, slivered


  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4-5 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves (bai makrut), torn into shreds (optional)


  1. Put the galangal, lemon grass, peppercorns, coconut milk, and 1 cup of water into a soup pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat and add the chicken. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
  2. Remove the whole spices (lemon grass, galangal, and peppercorns). Add the seasoning. Although not recommended for this soup, if you really like things hot, you can increase the chilies.
  3. Remove to soup bowls and sprinkle with the cilantro and kaffir lime leaves before serving. Serves 6-8.