Tom Kha Gai (Spicy Thai coconut Chicken Soup)

I recently returned from a trip to Thailand. This will be my third time going to Bangkok in a matter of 3 years, and my first time to Chiang Mai. Every time I head to Bangkok, I discover something new to eat and write about. This time, I attended a Thai cooking class. It seemed like the most practical thing to do, once I’ve simple tried almost every single Thai food place in Singapore and pretty tired of the flavours. I always dig deeper when it comes to food, and this cooking class was the closes I could get to the depth of Thai cooking without actually having to invade a local’s kitchen and hide in their store cupboard.

Upon my return from Thailand, I missed the country so much (all within a day) and could not get enough of the food. So the best way to recreate the feeling of being in the country is to being the country closer to your with the food that originated from there. Not so much my words, but told by my favourite domestic Goddess Nigella Lawson. So here’s my simple recipe for Tom Kha Gai, which is (in my terms) Tom Yum Kung’s cousin sister with Chicken instead of seafood, although this can be made with seafood. I did try making this once at home, before my cooking class and gave up  because it seemed too complicated. I hate complications in the kitchen; food should be fast to cook and good to eat (if Maggi can use this, so can I).

Recipe: Tom Kha Gai (Spicy Thai coconut Chicken Soup)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Yield: Serves 2


  • 1 Tbsp Canola Oil
  • 400g Chicken Breast Fillets, sliced thinly
  • 200ml Coconut Milk
  • 200ml Warm water
  • 1 piece Galangal, sliced in chunks
  • 2 stalks Lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 200g Shitake mushrooms, stalks removed and sliced
  • 3 Lime leaves, stalk removed
  • 1 Red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 Lime, juice only
  • 2 to 3 Corainder Stalks, chopped roughly
  • 1 to 2 Bird's eye chillies, sliced thinly
  • 1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges


  1. In a wok, heat the canola oil. Add the onions and state till transluscent (1min). Then, add all the remaining ingredients, with the coconut milk and water going in last. Let boil till chicken is cooked, which should take about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Taste and see if there's enough salt and spice. If need be, add a dash more fish sauce. Serve warm with steamed rice.


You can buy the 'Tom Yum Kit' from NTUC, where they sell 2 stalks of lemongrass, 1 chunk of galangal and a lime together with bird's eye kills and shallots. All of this can be used in the recipe.

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