Tom Ka Gai

Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk, Lime & Coriander


I just wouldn’t cope with not knowing how to make some version of this soup. I love it. You can add a few mushrooms, a couple of fresh spinach leaves or some slices of zucchini (courgettes) in with the chicken. Also wonderful instead of the chicken is to cook some large, shelled prawns (shrimp) on a barbecue or griddle pan and toss them into the soup just before serving. The fish sauce is the salt in this soup so adjust the quantities according to your taste (and the same with the chilli). I like it not too strong. Keep the coriander stems in your freezer to add flavour to a broth or stew.


  • 4 cm ( inch) piece of galangal or ginger, peeled and sliced
  • small bunch of coriander (cilantro)
  • 4 makrut (kaffir) lime leaves, torn
  • 1 stem lemon grass, halved lengthways
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • juice of 2 small limes
  • 400 ml (14 fl oz) coconut milk
  • 250 g (9 oz) skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and sliced


Put the galangal, coriander roots, lime leaves, lemon grass and 1 litre (4 cups) water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the fish sauce and lime juice, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the coriander roots. Add the coconut milk, bring back to the boil and boil for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken pieces and cook for just a minute or so, until the chicken is soft and milky looking and cooked through. Throw in the chilli and mix through. Serve in bowls with the coriander leaves roughly chopped and scattered over the top.