Tom kha gai

Tom kha gai

Leanne Kitchen

Thai soups can be a meal in themselves, and this is a good example, especially with some steamed rice on the side. Tom translates as ‘cooked’ (in this case simmered in coconut milk), kha means galangal, and gai is chicken. Traditionally this soup uses bone-in chicken but, for ease, we have gone for boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You are most welcome to play around with the amounts, as there are no hard and fast rules here.


Quantity Ingredient
6 cm piece fresh ginger, cut into very fine matchsticks
2 lemongrass stems, bruised and tied in a knot
8 kaffir lime leaves
1.5 litres Chicken stock
750g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon shaved palm sugar
200g fresh oyster mushrooms, large ones torn into pieces
150 g tin bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
400ml coconut milk
60ml lime juice

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
coriander leaves
2 red bird’s eye chillies, sliced
chilli oil
lime wedges


  1. Combine the ginger and lemongrass in a large saucepan. Bruise half of the lime leaves and add them to the pan with the stock then bring to a simmer over medium–high heat. Reduce the heat to medium–low, cover and cook for 6–7 minutes to allow the flavours to develop.
  2. Add the chicken, fish sauce, palm sugar, mushrooms and bamboo shoots, return to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked through. Add the coconut milk and continue to cook over low heat for 4–5 minutes or until heated through. Add the lime juice.
  3. Remove the central vein from each of the remaining kaffir lime leaves, then cut the leaves into very fine shreds.
  4. Divide the soup among large, warmed serving bowls and scatter over the shredded lime leaves, coriander and chilli. Drizzle with chilli oil and serve with the lime wedges on the side.
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