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Tom kha kai
Alternative namesChicken coconut soup, galangal soup
Place of originThailand
Associated cuisineThailand
Serving temperaturehot
Main ingredientsCoconut milk, galangal, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms and chicken

Tom kha kai, tom kha gai, or Thai coconut soup[1][2][3] (Thai: ต้มข่าไก่, pronounced [tôm kʰàː kàj]; lit.'chicken galangal soup') is a spicy and sour hot soup with coconut milk in Thai cuisine.


Tom kha is a Thai soup that originated around 1890 and was first recorded in a Thai recipe book. The earliest recorded version of the soup was called Tom kha pet, and it featured duck and young galangal in a coconut milk-based curry.[4] Over time, chicken became a more popular protein choice and the dish evolved into the version known as Tom kha kai, which is made with chicken instead of duck. In addition to chicken, shrimp is also a popular protein option and is often referred to as Tom kha kung.[5][6][7] Tom kha shares many base ingredients with another popular Thai soup called Tom yam. However, Tom kha is distinguished by the addition of coconut milk, which lends it a creamy texture and a milder, sweeter taste compared to Tom yam.[8]


Tom kha kai recipes typically include coconut milk, galangal (sometimes substituted with ginger), kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, Thai chili, coriander (or dill), straw mushrooms (or shiitake or other mushrooms), chicken, fish sauce, and lime juice. Fried chilies are sometimes added.[9]


There are other versions of tom kha kai made with seafood (tom kha thale, Thai: ต้มข่าทะเล), mushrooms (tom kha het, Thai: ต้มข่าเห็ด), pork (tom kha mu, Thai: ต้มข่าหมู) and tofu (tom kha taohu, Thai: ต้มข่าเต้าหู้).


See also


  1. ^ Crocker, B. (2014). Betty Crocker 20 Best Slow Cooker Soup and Stew Recipes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  2. ^ Tennefoss, K. (Ed.). (2010). 20 Awesome Soups You Can't Live Without. Kathleen Tennefoss.
  3. ^ BF Recipes. (2008). Just Wing It: Recipes Using Pre-Baked Rotisserie Chicken. AuthorHouse.
  4. ^ "ต้มข่าเป็ด จิ้มน้ำพริกเผาแบบโบราณ ; An Ancient Siamese Recipe for Tom Kha Pet – Duck Simmered in Light Coconut Cream and Young Galangal, and Served with Sour-Sweet Roasted Chili Jam". 2016-07-10. Retrieved 2016-07-11.
  5. ^ Susan (2021-02-27). "Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp (Tom Kha Goong)". Simple Healthy Kitchen. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
  6. ^ "Tom kha kai". Retrieved 2023-04-14.
  7. ^ "Tom Kha". Parawan’s Thai Home Cooking Classes. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
  8. ^ "Tom Kha Soup: The Classic Soup with a Dynamic Flavor for Your Exotic Thai Meal". Siam Recipes. 2021-08-10. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
  9. ^ Monroe, Jack (2015-03-04). "Jack Monroe's tom kha gai soup recipe". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-01-11.

Further reading