Tom Kha Kai aka Coconut Chicken Soup

May 28, 2017

Tom kha kai (also spelled tom kha gai) is a Thai soup traditionally made with lime juice, coconut milk, mushrooms, and chicken. It’s one of those soups that seems complicated, but once you make it and realize how simple it is, you’ll make it all the time. All the delicious ingredients have such a complex flavor profile—it’s a very impressive soup to serve at a dinner party. My version strays from the traditional slightly with the addition of bok choy and corn, but I like the added textures. Play around with this soup base and see where you land.


1 lb of boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
2½ cups mushrooms, sliced (your choice of mushrooms- I used cremini and shiitake)
2½ cups bok choy, roughly chopped
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1 Tbs deseeded jalapeño, minced
2 Tbs fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 lemongrass stems
1½ Tbs cilantro, minced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn (optional)

1 cup water
1/3 cup yellow onion, minced (about half of a small onion)
1 garlic clove, smashed
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 1 lime (about 3 Tbs)

4 cups chicken stock
2 cans (14 oz) coconut milk
2 tsp fish sauce
1 Tbs coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt plus a little extra pinch
Fresh pepper to taste
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce (optional)

Two medium pots
Cutting board
Chopping knife
Measuring cups spoons
Wooden spoon

Place the lemongrass on your cutting board and use the backside of your chopping knife to repeatedly hit up and down the length of the lemongrass. This is essentially bruising the root and allowing the oils to be freed.



Ginger, roughly chopped.


Add the entire stalks, chicken stock, water, garlic, ginger, lime zest, and lime juice to one pot. Place on the stove over medium to low heat and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering for 20 minutes and then remove from the heat. Set this pot aside until ready to use.

In separate medium pot, add the coconut oil and heat over medium to high heat. Once hot, add the minced onions and jalapeños. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions become translucent. Sprinkle the chicken slices with salt and pepper (to your taste) and then add to the pot. Sauté until the chicken is completely white. Add the mushrooms, boo choy, and corn if you’re using it. Sauté for another few minutes or until the mushrooms are al-dente.






Place the sieve over the pot with the chicken and mushrooms. Pour the flavored stock pot into the chicken and mushrooms pot, straining out the lemongrass and other flavorings. Bring the soup pot to a simmer. Then add the scallions and cilantro. Simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes before adding the two cans of coconut milk and fish sauce. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, sriracha if you’re using it, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer, then turn off. You can serve the soup immediately or allow it to cool, then refrigerate and serve the next day.

I like to allow my Thai flavors to meld, but sometimes I’m too impatient to wait! Enjoy! Xo







Jamieson is a lover of all things edible. This led her to culinary school after graduating college. She’s done pretty much every job in a kitchen and owned a seasonal restaurant, Mamasa, in Costa Rica. When she is home in the U.S., Jamieson works as a personal chef and nanny, hence The Nanny Recipes. She is currently writing a cookbook that features her simple, easy, and delicious recipes to help parents feed the entire family.

She has recently opened a new business Maikana Foods.

Visit Jamieson Van Loan’s website

Try Jamie’s other recipes:
Corn and Kale Quiche
Lemon Brownies
Butternut Squash Spinach Lasagna
Lemon Poppyseed Yogurt Bread
Meat Pies!
Tomato and Herb Baked Eggs
The Best Key Lime Pie Ever
Jalapeño Pineapple Sangria
Roasted Chickpea & Hearts of Palm Salad
Rosemary Maple Pork Chops
Hello Dolly!
Balsamic Strawberry Shortcake
Broccoli Slaw
Peach Strawberry Crumble Bars
Oatmeal Pancakes with Bananas Foster Compote
Avocado Toast with Asparagus Slaw & Spicy Lemon Dressing
Grilled Meat Makeover
Mexican Street SaladPumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Persimmon & Pomegranate Bread
Chunky Clam Chowder
Chorizo, Mushroom & Potato Tacos
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cream Pie
Lemon Rosemary Pound Cake
Fennel & Coconut Mussels
Chickpea Mango Curry Salad
Simple Sunday: Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast
Quick Side: Sautéed Kale & Sweet Potato
Blackberry Mint Mojitos
Best Coconut Cake Ever!
Baja Fish Tacos with Southwestern Chipotle Slaw
Apple, Pomegranate & Kale Quinoa Salad
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
Lemon Ricotta Flaxseed Pancakes
Strawberry Rhubarb Basil Galette
Raw Vegan Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Energy Balls
Coconut and Chia Seed Granola






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