Tom kha kai

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| Thai Cuisine
Tom kha kai
Category: Thai recipes
Servings: 5
Time: ½ hour
Difficulty: Easy

Tom kha kai (or tom kha gai) is a Thai soup with the distinct, very Thai flavor of galangal, a rhizome somewhat similar to ginger. Kha means "galangal" in Thai. This version of the soup is made with chicken (kai or gai).


Serves five.
  • 2½ (600ml) cups coconut milk
  • 3¼ (775ml) cups chicken stock.
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, cut into 1" (2.5cm) bits or split lengthwise
  • 2"x1" (5cm x 2.5cm) cube, thin sliced galangal - note: one can substitute ginger, as galangal and ginger are similar, but the flavors are different.
  • 3-4 mini chilies, finely chopped


  1. Bring stock and coconut milk to a boil.
  2. Add lemongrass, galangal, chilies, sugar and pepper.
  3. Add onion, tomato, chicken bits, and mushrooms.
  4. Keep at a rolling boil for 4 minutes.
  5. Remove the pot from the heat.
  6. Stir in lime juice and soy sauce.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and chilies.

For one bowl

  • ⅓ cup (80ml) coconut milk
  • ⅔ cups (160ml) chicken stock
  • ½ stalk lemongrass (cut into 1" bits)
  • 3 thin slices galangal (or ginger, but see above note)
  • 1 mini chili, finely chopped
  • 6 cubes chicken
  • ¼ onion
  • ⅓ tomato, halved and peeled
  • 1 mushroom, cut into 6 pieces
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • ⅛ tsp pepper
  • dash lime juice
  • dash soy sauce


  • Always wash your hands after handling chili peppers. Be especially careful not to touch your eyes, children, or genitals.