Galangal and Coconut Chicken Soup

Tom Kah Gai


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6

    servings as part of a multi-dish meal

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

Rich yet light, this Thai classic uses decorative stalks of lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal to infuse the soup. So warn uninitiated guests that these pungent aromatics are not very palatable. You may choose to remove them prior to serving. Straw mushrooms are only available canned in the U.S. While these are fine, feel free to substitute fresh oyster mushrooms.


  • 2 cans (about 14 fl. oz. or 414 ml. each) Coconut milk (divided use)
  • 2 cups Light chicken stock or broth
  • 3 stalks Lemongrass, trimmed, sliced on diagonal into 3-inch (7.5 cm.) lengths, lightly bruised with blunt object
  • 5 large Kaffir lime leaves, bruised lightly
  • 8 slices Galangal (kah), about inch (0.3 cm.) thick
  • 6 Thai bird chilies, split lengthwise
  • ½ lb. (227 g.) Chicken thigh meat, cut into bite-size slices, about ¼ inch (0.6 cm.) thick
  • ½ can (15 oz. or 425 g. can) Straw mushrooms, drained (liquid discarded), halved
  • ¼ cup Fish sauce (nahmpla)
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup Lime juice
  • ¼ cup Cilantro leaves


  1. In large saucepan, combine only one can of coconut milk, chicken stock, lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, and chilies. Bring to boil; lower heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  2. Add chicken; simmer until chicken is cooked (about 2 minutes). Add straw mushrooms, tomatoes, second can of coconut milk, fish sauce, and salt.
  3. Bring back up to hot (but not boiling), add lime juice, and adjust seasoning with additional fish sauce and lime juice.
  4. Place cilantro leaves into bowls then ladle in soup. Serve immediately.