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Thai Chicken Soup Recipe

First, my appreciation to all the cilantro-hating readers who have allowed me to indulge myself for an entire month of cilantro worship and have kept reading my blog and barely complained about all the cilantro! I’m ending my month with this recipe for Thai Chicken Soup, similar to a soup that might be called Tom Ka Gai or Dom Yam Gai at your favorite Thai restaurant. (And if anyone like Ed or Pim knows the difference between those two types of soups, I’d love to know.)

This soup has cilantro added at the very end, but let me say if you’re not a cilantro fan, make this soup anyway, and leave out the cilantro. There are so many great flavors going on here that you won’t miss out at all. Just do not miss out on this soup!

The recipe I used was from Eat This Book, Cooking with Global Fresh Flavors, and though I never really watched Tyler Florence on the Food Network, I love this cookbook. The other recipe I’ve posted from it was Pan Roasted Chicken with Onions, Mushrooms, and Rosemary, and it was also a wow.

Somehow this recipe didn’t transfer over completely when I switched my blog to WordPress, but thanks to a reader named Linda for alerting me! I have rescued the recipe from the printer-friendly files to reproduce here! If there were more photos, they must be lost, so maybe I have to make this again soon!

Thai Chicken Soup
(4 main course servings, recipe only slightly adapted from Eat This Book, Cooking with Global Fresh Flavors by Tyler Florence)

1 quart chicken stock, homemade or canned
1 lemongrass stalk, white part, crushed slightly or 1 tsp. bottled sliced lemongrass
3 kaffir lime leaves
(I don’t use them often, so I keep them in the freezer.)
several slices ginger root
2 small fresh Thai chiles, halved lengthwise
(I keep these in the freezer too.)
2 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 can (14.5 oz.) coconut milk
(I used Thai Kitchen brand light coconut milk)
1 T Thai fish sauce (recipe called for 2 T)
(Thai fish sauce is nam pla)
1 1/2 tsp. sugar or Splenda
1 can mushrooms (recipe called for straw mushrooms)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (4 cooked chicken breasts)
juice of 4 limes
fresh ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh cilantro to garnish if desired (or more)

In large soup pot, bring chicken stock to a simmer over medium heat. Add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger slices, Thai chiles, and smashed garlic cloves. Simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, then strain stock to remove these inedible flavorings.

Turn heat to low, then stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar or Splenda, mushrooms, shredded chicken, lime juice, and cracked pepper. Simmer about 5 minutes without boiling to blend flavors and heat chicken through. Ladle soup into individual bowls and sprinkle with cilantro if desired.

Click here for Printer-Friendly Recipe

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22 comments on “Thai Chicken Soup Recipe”

  1. Tyler seems like a pretty cool guy..have to go check his book out sometime

  2. WMM (Bill) As I said, both the things I’ve made from this book were fantastic, and I have about 10 more recipes marked to try!

    Christine, it was sooooo good. I love these fresh flavors together.

  3. Can you subsitute Tofu for the chicken? Since I don’t do meat? I want to try this, it sounds very tasty!!

    Also, do you get your thai ingredients at the Asian Market on 9th south? It is a great place!

  4. Wow, the soup looks delicious Kalyn.

  5. I adore Eat This Book. Thanks for reminding me to pull it out! The soup looks fab.

  6. Maria, tofu would be good in this. I haven’t been to the Asian store on 9th South. Have to check it out.

    Mandira, it was fantastic. I love coconut milk.

    Jennifer, isn’t it a great book.

  7. Tom Kha and Tom Yum Goong both have Galangal, Lemongrass, and Kaffir Lime Leafs as the main aromatics. Tom Kha always contain coconut milk, while Tom Yum almost always do not -a few recipes from some regions do ask a bit of coconut milk, but never as the base for the broth like for Tom Kha. Gai means chicken, which is the most common meat in the Tom Kha soup, while Goong means shrimp, which is the most common protein for the Tom Yum soup.

    This recipe looks to me to be a bastardized version of Tom Kha Gai, replacing the more ubiquitous ginger for the harder to find Galangal. If you want to be ‘authentic’ then I suggest skipping Galangal entirely if you couldn’t find it rather than using ginger -which to me taste nothing like galangal.

    But hey, the bottom line is if it tastes good to you then why not?


  8. Kalyn,

    Thanks for sropping by my blog earlier. What a surprise we both used lemongrass in this week WHB! 🙂

    Your soup looks really good… Will try out very soon. My personal favourite is to eat this type of soup with rice noodle!

  9. Hi Pim, Thanks for the info. I was sure you would know about this. I knew it had to be an Americanized version of the soup, but didn’t realize that the flavor of galangal was so distinctive from ginger. Doubt I could ever find fresh galangal in Salt Lake. I do have to say that although I haven’t been to Thailand, I’ve eaten a lot of Thai food in Salt Lake, D.C. , L.A. and San Francisco and Tyler Florence’s version was good, even if not really authentic. I ate it two days in a row with no regrets!

    White Poplar, your five spice tofu did look delicious. I haven’t cooked with tofu much, but I do like it when other people cook it.

  10. I like the idea of simmering the lemongrass Kalyn! I’ve tried some Tyler Florence’s recipes which always turned out great too!
    (ps. yes, I got my grill :D)

  11. how’s the language in that book?
    i love tyler’s recipes b/c they’re very clear both in direction and flavor, but dear god, the way that man yammers on like he’s a giddy teenager gets under my skin!
    thusly, i’ve avoided all his books wholesale… he needs a better editor imho!
    regardless, that soup looks DELISH!

  12. This soup looks really good ! I love cilantro so I can’t wait to try this recipe specially since the weather is getting colder. I might try it also with shrimp.

  13. Kalyn,
    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I hope you will be featuring some Moroccan recipes!
    Thai food is my personal favorite but am wondering where to get the lemongrass and Kafir lime here in Marrakesh. Perhaps lemongrass could be grown here. It would be worth it because I love lemongrass tea.

  14. Wow does that soup look fabulous! And the bright green cilantro on top? Icing on the cake. Er. Soup. No wait a minute…


  15. That looks fantastic, Kalyn! I love versions of coconut chicken soup.
    As a reference, I’ve had good luck with importfood.com for finding fresh Thai produce like the galangal and lemongrass – not too many local places by me stock it either, so I can order from there and freeze it.

  16. Yum! It’s funny, I just made Tom Ka Gai last night. It’s one of my favorites to order when I go out for Thai. My photos aren’t as pretty as yours, but I’ll be posting about my soup in the next day or two if you’d like to stop by!

  17. wow thanks for da thai soup!
    i jus luvd it whn i accidentally had it last month in a chinese resto. i wanted da recipe badly.

    and hey nice site ..!

  18. I can’t seem to find the recipe for the Thai chicken soup

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