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Tom Kha Gai: Thai chicken coconut soup

My version of the popular Thai chicken coconut soup. You can substitute shrimp or chunks of fish for the chicken.


  • 3 cans (14 to 14 1/2 ounces per can) chicken broth
  • 2 cans (13 to 13 1/2 ounces per can) light coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons galanga powder, or 1 1/2 to 2 inches of fresh galanga root finely minced
  • 6 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
  • 1 to 3 lemon grass stalks: finely chop the pale bottom section; don’t use the tougher green portion
  • 3 to 5 makrut lime leaves, fresh or dried, crumbled
  • 3 to 5 small hot chiles (e.g., serranos), chopped
  • 4 chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), skinned and boned, and cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro


  1. In a large pot, bring the chicken broth and coconut milk to a gentle simmer.
  2. Stir in the galanga, green onions, lemon grass, lime leaves and chiles.
  3. Stir in the chicken pieces.
  4. After the chicken has cooked (about 5 to 8 minutes; much less time needed for seafood, about 2 to 4 minutes), stir in the lime juice, fish sauce and cilantro.
  5. Serve hot. Refrigerate leftovers —it’ll get spicier the next day. Yum!

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