Chicken Coconut Soup

Prep Time: 35 minutes (about 20 minutes hands-on)

Meal Notes: Hailing from Laos and Northern Thailand, this addictive chicken coconut soup is otherwise known as Tom Kha Gai. The recipe below streamlines the prep for this dish while retaining the classic flavors of spicy, sweet, and flour. The soup is robust enough to make a light lunch on its own, or try pairing it with naan.

Source: Cooking Light Global Kitchen cookbook by David Joachim



  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil, divided

  • 1 8 oz container white button mushrooms

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 4 teaspoons minced ginger

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1 stalk lemongrass

  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (or substitute sriracha)

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • 2 (14 oz) cans light coconut milk

  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon sugar

  • 8 oz chicken breast

  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice

  • (optional) 1 bunch scallions

  • (optional) 1 bunch fresh cilantro


  • Prep Ingredients: Thinly slice mushrooms until you have 1 full cup. Dice red pepper until you have 1/2 cup. Dice scallion and cilantro. Mince ginger and garlic. Halve lemongrass lengthwise. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper, then add 1 Tablespoon of the canola oil to a small pan. Sautee the chicken on both sides, until cooked through. Set aside. When chicken is cool enough to handle, shred (or dice) it.

  • Make Soup: Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan, followed by mushrooms, bell pepper, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass. Cook for about three minutes, stirring frequently. Add sambal oelek. Cook for another minute. Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar. Bring soup to simmer. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes.

  • Finish: After 10 minutes, add shredded chicken to the pan and cook until thoroughly heated. Discard lemongrass. Top with the scallions, cilantro, and lime juice.