Chicken and mushroom soup

Tom" kha" kai


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Food and Travels: Asia

Food and Travels

By Alastair Hendy

Published 2004

  • About

Everyone’s comfortable love, and big enough and easy enough to lunch with.


  • 3 cm piece fresh galangal or root ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 x 300 ml cans coconut milk
  • 2 sticks lemongrass, trimmed
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 3-6 small hot red chillies
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 large chicken breasts, skinned
  • handful of oyster mushrooms
  • 500 ml Asian chicken stock
  • juice of ½ lime or lemon
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • caster sugar (optional)
  • handful of coriander leaves and shredded chilli


Plop the galangal or ginger into the pan with the coconut milk. Thwack each stick of lemongrass hard with a rolling pin to smash it open - but leave it intact - then lob these into the pan, too. Chuck in the shallots, then the whole chillies and half the lime leaves - lightly scrumpled, so that they release their flavour - and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, slice the chicken about 5mm thick, then chuck it in with the mushrooms and bubble away for about 3 minutes, or until cooked. Stir in the chicken stock and bring back to a bubble for about a minute, then turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice and fish sauce. Give it a taste. If it’s too sharp, sweeten it with a tsp or two of sugar. Fish out and discard the spent lemongrass and lime leaves, then serve sprinkled with coriander, a few chilli shreds (if you fancy the perk) and the remaining lime leaves, finely shredded. Thais down it with rice.