Easy Tom Kha Soup

Don’t you hate it when you’re on the verge of being sick, so you take it easy, but then you keep on feeling like you’re coming down with something? I’ve been fighting off some kind of bug for nearly a week now. I’m glad it hasn’t turned into a full blown cold, but I’m ready to kick this thing! So today I made a shortcut version of my favorite Thai chicken soup- tom kha. My version is considerably “Westernized,” considering that I was missing a few key ingredients. The soup traditionally calls for kaffir lime leaves, stalks of lemongrass, and Thai chilis. I replaced kaffir lime leaves with a combination of lime zest and lime juice, bought Gourmet Garden fresh lemongrass, and replaced the Thai chilis with Gourmet Garden fresh chili.


I hadn’t used these fresh herbs in a tube before, but I like them a lot! They stay fresh in the fridge for weeks. I think these will serve me well in making other Thai dishes in the upcoming weeks. I might pick up the garlic paste, too!

The fresh taste of ginger, lemongrass, and lime in this soup are well matched by the umami of fish sauce and spicy, salty broth. All the bold flavors are melded together with creamy coconut milk. Perfection.


Tom Kha Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A bold and vibrant Thai soup with lemongrass and coconut milk.


  • 6 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemongrass paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper paste
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups diced vegetables, such as carrot, zucchini, onion, bok choy, etc. (optional)
  • 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • one 13 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro and green onion for garnish (optional)


  1. Bring the broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, chili, lime juice, and lime zest to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. If using, add the vegetables and boil for another 5 minutes, until tender.
  3. Add the mushrooms and chicken breast. Bring back to a simmer for 5 more minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk, whisk until combined and melted. Season with salt & pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro and green onion.

Use this recipe as a general guideline rather than the ultimate, correct formula! If you really love some of the aromatic ingredients, feel free to add more and simmer a little longer to infuse the broth. Thai chilis and kaffir lime leaves are on my list of ingredients to buy soon! I can’t wait to make a more authentic version of this soup later this fall. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite Thai dish? 

20 Minute Thai Soba Noodles

Forget macaroni & cheese, this noodle dish tastes better than take-out and I bet you’ll be able to make it in 15 minutes after a few tries! I’ve always been intimidated by the idea of cooking Thai food at home. I assumed it would involve tons of exotic ingredients that might end up collecting dust in my pantry for months. After browsing some pad Thai recipes online, I realized it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. You probably already have sriracha sauce, soy sauce, and peanut butter around, right? So you don’t need much more! Here are the other staples you’ll want to keep around for Asian cooking:

  • Fish sauce – This is a simple sauce of fermented anchovies, water, and salt. The flavor isn’t fishy when you add a tiny bit to food. Instead, it imparts a savory depth of flavor that will blow your mind! There’s a great article on Serious Eats about ways to harness the umami flavor in all kinds of world cuisine.
  • Fresh ginger – Makes everything taste fresh! Buy some ginger root, chop it up, and store in your freezer if you’re not going to use it frequently.
  • Soba noodles – These are Japanese noodles made with high protein buckwheat flour, which means they boast 8 grams protein per 2 oz serving. Best of all? They cook in FOUR minutes! (Yeah, I know I’m mixing Thai and Japanese cuisine with today’s recipe, but it works!)
  • Sambal olek- Chili paste. It’s like a thicker, chunky version of sriracha sauce. I’ve used it in my African pork tenderloin recipe here

Ready for an easy starter Thai recipe?? Here you go!


(serves 1-2 people, depending on appetite)

3.1 oz bundle of dry soba noodles

1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoon sambal olek (chili paste), or sriracha sauce

1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup julienned vegetables of choice (ie carrots or zucchini cut into little matchstick sized pieces)

 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon brown sugar

3 oz shredded rotisserie chicken or cooked shrimp (optional)

Lime wedge, green onion, bean shoots, chopped nuts, and/or sriracha sauce for garnish


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and chop all your vegetables. Prepare your sauce in a small bowl by whisking together peanut butter, soy sauce, water, chili paste, and fish sauce. Set aside.

2. Add soba noodles to the boiling water and cook for 4 minutes while completing the remaining steps.

3. Heat canola oil in a 10″ skillet. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.

4. Add the julienned vegetables to the oil, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for an additional 2 minutes. 

5. Drain the soba noodles and toss into the skillet. Add apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and sauce. Stir to coat. Add chicken or shrimp at this point, if using.

6. Serve hot and garnish as you wish. I like my noodles with a squeeze of lime, some chopped green onion, sriracha, and sliced almonds!

Seriously, don’t be intimidated by the longer ingredients list here! This dish is fantastic and super quick to make. It’s not a traditional “pad thai” dish, though. If you’re looking for something more authentic, head over to my friend Laura’s new blog, www.earth2laura.com, where she shares recipes for world cuisine. Today she is featuring a legit pad thai recipe