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?