Spicy Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha) with Chicken

  • Author: Emily Weeks, RDN, LD
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x


Tom kha gai, or Thai coconut chicken soup,  is a spicy and sour hot soup made with coconut milk. The heat comes from chili-garlic sauce, and the sour from the lime juice. 





  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced into half rings
  • 2 inch piece ginger root, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili-garlic sauce
  • 48 fl oz (6 cups) chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 (13.5 fl oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 lb white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ lb chicken breasts, boneless skinless, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 lime
  • 1 small bunch green onions, sliced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, minced


  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add oil and swirl to coat the bottom.
  2. Add onion, ginger, garlic, and chili-garlic sauce to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion begins to soften, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add broth, coconut milk, sugar, fish sauce, and salt to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Add mushrooms and chicken to the pot and continue to simmer until chicken is cooked through, 10-12 minutes.
  5. When the soup is done, juice lime into the pot and stir to combine.
  6. To serve, divide soup between bowls. Top with green onions and cilantro.