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Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk
(Tom Kha Gai)

This is a mild but spicy chicken soup (it can also be made with shrimp, pork, beef or mushrooms).


  • 16 fluid ounces soup broth (chicken stock)
  • 4 or 5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
  • 2-inch piece lemon grass, bruised to release flavor
  • 1-inch cube galangal, sliced thinly
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 ounces chicken breast, cut into smallish bite-size pieces
  • 5 fluid ounces coconut milk
  • Small red Thai chile peppers, slightly crushed (to taste)*
  • Coriander (cilantro) leaves to garnish

* The number of red peppers is a personal choice. It can be as few as half a chile per diner, to as many as 8 to 10 per diner, but the dish should retain a balance of flavors and not be overwhelmed by the chili peppers. 8 to 12 chile peppers for this recipe seems to be a pretty good balance.


  1. Heat the stock, add the lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal, fish sauce, and lime juice. Stir thoroughly, bring to a boil, and add the chicken and coconut milk. Bring back to the boil, lower the heat to keep it simmering and cook for about 2 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through).

Not really intended to be eaten as a separate course, you could serve it with just a serving of steamed Thai jasmine rice, or together with a Thai meal. This quantity serves 4 with other food, but is probably only enough for two if eaten separately.

From the kitchen of Martin James – Copenhagen, Denmark.

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