PK’s Simple Tom Kha Gai

My way of making Tom Kha, a Thai coconut, chicken and galangal soup, one bowl at a time is great if you have a family with widely different stands on what they will or won’t eat. For example, I love tomatoes, mushrooms and spring onions so I use lots of them in my bowl. My lads don’t so they get more mushrooms, carrot and corn.

It is also great when you have your friends over for lunch or dinner. Simply put a big pot of soup on the table with the vegetables and rice separate and everyone can build their own bowl. Don’t forget slices of lime, chopped Thai chilies and extra fish sauce. 🙂

Note: I think this makes enough soup for 2 hungry adults.

20180916 tom kha served

  1. Preparing the ingredients
  2. Bringing the soup to the boil
  3. Serving
  • 1 poached chicken breast
  • 1 small coriander plant (roots and leaves), whole
  • 1 chunk of fresh galangal, bruised
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bruised
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce for the pot and 1 Tbsp for each serving bowl
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice for the pot and 1 Tbsp for each serving bowl
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 Thai chiles, sliced (optional but encouraged)
  • Your personal choice of vegetables
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  • 1 chef’s knife
  • 1 chopping board
  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 saucepan/soup pot
Preparing the ingredients
  1. Cut your poached chicken breast into cubes or slices.
  2. Bruise the galangal chunk and the lemongrass stalk and add to the pot.
  3. Bruise the kaffir lime leaves, or like I have put little tears in the edges to release the flavour better, and add to the pot.
  4. Add one small coriander plant.
  5. Add:
    • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
    • 1 Tbsp lime juice
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 2 cups chicken stock
    • 1 cup coconut milk
    • 3 Thai chiles (optional)


Bringing the soup to the boil
  1. Let everything come to a boil really slowly to infuse all the flavours. I don’t move it very often and then only a gentle swirl.
  2. Once you have a gentle boil, turn the heat down a bit and add the poached chicken.
  3. Cook until the chicken is safely warmed through but not for too long or it will go stringy.



  1. Build up a bowl of your favourite vegetables and add 1 Tbsp fish sauce and 1 Tbsp lime juice.
  2. Add some chicken and then add as much soup as you want (liquid only, the rest stays behind).
  3. Provide your guests with some cooked rice, slices of lime, extra chiles and fish sauce.


20180916 tom kha served




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