Tom Kha Kai

The Tom Kha Kai is a typical soup with all the classic ingredients of Thai cuisine: red chilies, cilantro, kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass. But don’t get scared: we will suggest you the right substitutes so that you can try this Thai special even if you live thousands of miles away from South Asia!

Ingredients (for 2)

  • 1/2 chicken breast
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tbsp lemongrass
  • 1 red chili pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp cilantro


  • Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, finely slice the red chili peppers and peel the lime
  • In a medium-sized soup pot, heat the chicken stock to medium temperature, then add the red chili pepper, lime zest, minced ginger and lemon juice
  • Bring the mixture to boil, add the chicken and coconut milk, cover and simmer until the chicken is tenderly cooked (about 10 minutes)
  • Reduce the heat, add the lemongrass and fish sauce, and simmer for a couple of minutes
  • Turn off the heat and garnish with finely chopped cilantro

Tips from the Chef

  • To get the original Thai recipe, use Kaffir lime leaves instead of lime zest and add some slices of galangal (a typical vegetable from Thailand) if available
  • You can add some diced red tomatoes and mushrooms for some extra taste