Learn how to make authentic Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) with this simple delicious recipe. Can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stove top. Gluten-free and vegan adaptable! Updated 3/20 ( see notes)
- 1 –2 shallots, diced
- ¼ cup ginger, sliced into ⅛ inch thick disks, skins ok ( 2 inch piece)
- ¼ cup galangal root, sliced into ⅛ thick disks, skins ok ( 2 inch piece)
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass- or use lemongrass paste.
- 8 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 cups chicken broth or veggie broth
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken- whole breasts or thighs (or sub 1 pound crispy Tofu)
- 8 ounces mushrooms (oyster, shiitake, cremini, or straw mushrooms) or sub other veggies like bell pepper, snow peas, etc.
- 2–4 fresh Thai Chilies, or add chili paste to taste at the end
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or sub vegan fish sauce)
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 x 14-ounce cans of coconut milk (full fat)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice ( 1–2 small limes) to taste
- 2 teaspoons palm, coconut or brown sugar
Serve this on its own, over rice or rice noodles!
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Place everything in the instant pot except lime juice, coconut milk and sugar – leaving the chicken thighs or breasts whole. Don’t forget the salt. Give a stir. 🙂
- If using chicken breasts, pressure cook on high pressure for 7 minutes, or 10 minutes for thighs. If using tofu, pressure cook 4 minutes.
- Naturally release for 10-15 minutes. Shred the chicken into bite sized pieces using two forks and add the coconut milk, sugar and lime juice. Taste- adjust salt, lime and spicy heat. Serve with a lime wedge.
Stove Top Cooking instructions:
- Slice the chicken into thin bitesized pieces ( across the grain) and season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven, saute shallot in a little oil over medium heat. Add ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and galalagal and 2 cups broth and simmer gently for 5 minutes, letting the broth infuse. Add the chicken (or tofu) and mushrooms and gently poach, simmering for 3-4 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Stir in the coconut milk, fish sauce, chilies, and salt and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the lime juice and sugar. Taste. Adjust salt and lime and the spice level by adding more chili paste.
It may smell “fishy” at first, but after you add the lime juice, it will all balance and mellow out.
When making the stove top version, sometimes I’ll poach whole chicken breasts in the infused broth (covered) then shred with 2 forks- a little longer cooking time, but no pre-cutting required. Then add the remaining ingredients. 🙂
Boiling coconut milk will take some it’s lovely sweetness away, so don’t over boil it or over cook it, just simmer gently and not for too long. 🙂
To make a vegan version, sub veggie broth for the chicken broth. Add crispy tofu. ( Pan- sear cubes of tofu in a skillet, with olive oil, salt and pepper) Add other veggies if you like! Sub vegan fish sauce for regular fish sauce.
Feel free to serve over rice or rice noodles.
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