Authentic Tom Kha Gai – a simple delicious recipe for one of Thailand’s most popular soups! Full of fragrant Thai ingredients like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, and galanga root, this Thai Coconut Chicken Soup can be made on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot. Paleo, Gluten-free and Vegan-adaptable. Includes a Video!
I would say that there exist a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one. The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list. ~Mary Oliver
This authentic recipe for Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) is full of amazing flavor and can be made quickly and easily on the stovetop or in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.
What makes this recipe for Tom Kha Gai recipe truly authentic, is the use of galangal root.
What Does Tom Kha Gai mean?
Tom Kha Gai translates to Chicken Soup with Galangal. Tom means SOUP, Kha means GALANGAL and Gai means Chicken.
So Galangal root is the star of the dish. And believe me, it will elevate. Galangal is hard to find at regular grocery stores and may require a trip to your local Asian Market, but trust me when I tell you, you’ll love yourself for it. So will your family.
And what is nice is, you can buy extra galangal root and kaffir lime leaves and freeze them for future use, because I promise you’ll want to make this soup again. Soon!
The rich, fragrant coconut broth is especially comforting when feeling under the weather.
Watch How to make Toma Kha Gai! | 60-sec video
What is Galangal Root?
Galangal root (also called galanga) looks very much like ginger but tastes very very different. It has an exotic pine flavor, that in my opinion, totally makes the soup. Like I mentioned above, the word Kha means galangal. So don’t make the soup, until you have time to go to the Asian Market. Trust me. 😉
While you are there, pick up some kaffir lime leaves, fresh ginger and lemongrass. Both the galangal and the kaffir lime leaves may be in the frozen section of the market. You may also find chopped frozen lemongrass, which I happen to love because then there is always some on hand in the freezer.
While I haven’t made a vegan version of this yet, I know it is possible using tofu (or fried tofu) and this vegan fish sauce.
Tom Yum vs Tom Kha
The primary difference between Tom Yum and Tom Kha is that Tom Kha is richer and creamier with the addition of coconut milk. Tom Yum Soup is brothy, spicy, and sour and typically made with a spicy paste. Tom Kha is rich and creamy, with sweeter notes.
You’ll need about a quarter cup of both galangal and ginger and just a heads up- you don’t need to peel the ginger or the galangal, just thinly slice. There are some who believe ginger doesn’t belong in Tom Kha, but I still like to add both. Up to you.
Thai red chilies are a nice addition to the soup too, but you can also use chili paste.
Make the Tom Kha Gai in an Instant Pot with chicken breast or chicken thighs, or cook it more authentically on the stovetop. Your choice!
The instant pot version is very quick and easy- just put it all in the pot and set.
When it’s done squeeze with fresh lime and serve in bowls. Feel free to add cilantro.
Enjoy this Tom Kha Gai – a warming Coconut Chicken soup that is full of amazing Thai flavor.
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- Instant Pot Thai Curry Chicken
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