Tom Ka Gai (Chicken soup with coconut and galangal)

Summary: This rich and creamy soup is well known outside of Thailand. The mixture of sour and spicy are ‘cooled’ by coconut milk. Before living in Thailand, this was one of my fav Thai dishes. It’s still yummy, but with such a huge selection within Thailand, I save my tom ka for dining outside the kingdom.


  • 2c chicken stock
  • 1c coconut milk
  • 1t palm sugar (soft is easier to deal with)
  • 2 trimmed stalks of fresh lemongrass
  • 4 shallots peeled
  • 2-4 prik kee nuu (literally: rat shit chili)
  • 8 slices of galangal root (about 1/8 inch thick)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3oz of mushrooms (best options: straw or oyster)
  • 4oz sliced chicken meat
  • 1T lime juice
  • 1-2T fish sauce
  • 1T coriander leaf (cilantro)


  1. bring coconut milk and stock to boil.
  2. add palm sugar and a dash of salt
  3. blend shallots lemongrass, chilis and coriander with mortar and pestle or grinding stone until bruised
  4. Add mix to stock
  5. add lime leaves and galangal
  6. simmer for 5 minutes
  7. add chicken and mushrooms
  8. lower heat
  9. simmer until chicken is cooked
  10. mix lime juice, fish sauce, coriander leaf and (optional) extra chilis in a separate serving bowl.
  11. ladel soup into serving bowl.
  12. garnish with a split chili and additional coriander leaves


add more chilis for extra spice.

add more galangal and lime leaves if you like it sour.

if you don’t have palm sugar, you can replace with white sugar, but start with about 1/3 the amount and add at the end for more sweet flavor.

Cuisine: Thai

Microformatting by hRecipe.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *