Sunday, July 7, 2013

Slow Cooker Tom kha Gai (Thai coconut milk and chicken soup)

 It’s the soup I crave when I’m sick in bed or when I’ve had a very busy day and need something comforting or a delicious comfort food on any chilly day.

This generally is made in my slow cooker when I know it will be a long and busy day for me either with my daughter or my household shopping. Having a hot bowl of soup,sitting beside my window after a busy day is total bliss for me.

This classic Thai chicken soup gets its rich flavor from quintessential Thai ingredients: coconut milk, lemongrass, fresh galangal, lime juice, chile paste, and cilantro.

A flavorsome Thai coconut chicken soup. Tom Kha Gai, among Thailand’s most popular soups, may be served at the beginning of a meal or even as the entrĂ©e, perhaps with noodles. One thing about the foods of Thailand – they all have a sense of taste balance, including sweet, salty, tangy and savory references all together. This unique Thai coconut chicken soup is bursting with exotic flavour.

Tom kha kai or Tom kha gai  literally means chicken galangal soup is a spicy hot soup in Loa Cuisine and Thai Cusine.  The fried chilies add a smoky flavor as well as texture, color and heat, but not so much that it overwhelms the soup.  Thai-style tom kha gai does not use dill weed, whereas Lao-style tom kha gai usually uses it, which is a common herb used in Lao cuisine. Cilantro is used in the Thai soup instead of dill weed.


  • 6 cups chicken  stock
  • 2 cans (or 28 ounces) full fat coconut milk 
  • 1 tomato cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup shredded/ boneless chicken
  • 6 Shitake mushrooms cut in half
  • 4 stalks fresh lemongrass, lower white part chopped into 1-inch chunks, then smashed with knife 
  • 6 red shallots, peeled and chunked (Sub: 3 smashed cloves of garlic plus a bit of red onion)
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4-5 fresh red bird’s eye chili peppers,smashed with knife (Sub:Siracha sauce or red chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 3 inch chunk of fresh galangal root, sliced (Sub: ginger, but galangal is really what makes the flavor of this dish authentic.) 
  • 8-10 fresh kaffir lime leaves, remove stems and tear and bruise by hand (Sub: zest of two lime and four bay leaves) 
  • 2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar (Sub: 3 teaspoon brown sugar)

  • Direction:

    1. Place all ingredients, except the fresh cilantro and mushrooms, into the slow cooker, and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-7.

    Add the mushrooms during the last 20 minutes of cooking, and top with cilantro when serving.

    I generally enjoy my Tom Kha Gai with noodles, so I made some. Now I am ready to sip, slurp, and enjoy!


    1. This is one of my favorite Thai soups!

    2. One of my favorite soups ever!! And the key is using fresh Thai ingredients :)

      1. You are right kiran, fresh thai ingredients makes this soup authentic. Thanks for your comment.

    3. So fresh and tasty looking! This must have wonderful flavor - thanks so much for sharing this.

    4. Oh yes, this Thai soup is very flavorful. It looks rich and hearty with all of those mushrooms. Thank you Amrita and I hope you have a nice weekend ahead.