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Tom Kha Gai (chicken galangal soup with coconut)

This is one of my favorite soups. It’s creamy, salty/sweet, and has the perfect sourness from lime juice to balance everything. It’s the perfect soup for using up leftover roast chicken, but works with chicken thighs or breasts as well, if you don’t have leftovers.

The kaffir lime leaves lend the best flavor, so buy a packet of dried leaves which keep for a while, or fresh leaves which freeze well.

While it’s not traditional, I frequently make this with fresh ginger, if I don’t have galangal, although galangal is ideal and I encourage you to seek it out for this recipe.

Galangal is shaped similarly to ginger, and can be frozen in slices for future batches of Tom Kha Gai, so buy extra when you find it! I've read dried galangal slices also work, but I haven't tried them.

Tag me on instagram if you make this, I love seeing you make the recipes I share :)


2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee

1 medium red onion, sliced

2 cups mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces (any type you like)

1-2 birds eye chilies, roughly smashed but still intact

1 stalk lemon grass, roughly smashed but still intact (optional, but ideal)

1 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated 0R 1 thumb size piece of galangal, thinly sliced

2 small heads baby bok choy, roughly chopped

3-4 tablespoons fish sauce, depending on preference

3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, to taste

2 cups homemade chicken broth

2 cans full fat, unsweetened coconut milk (13.5 oz each)

3 tablespoons coconut sugar

2-3 cups leftover chicken, torn into bite sized pieces OR 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces

Half a bunch of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped


In a large heavy bottomed pot, melt coconut oil or ghee over medium/low heat, then add sliced onion, mushrooms, and chilies. Season with a big pinch of salt, and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.

Add in lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal or ginger, along with the fish sauce, chicken broth, coconut milk, and coconut sugar. If you’re using raw chicken, add it now, otherwise set the chicken aside until the end.

Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, then add in in the bok choy and if you’re using cooked chicken, add it now.

Cook over medium heat for a couple minutes, until the bok choy is tender but still bright green. Add in lime juice and cilantro.

Taste for seasoning- if you want it saltier, add salt or more fish sauce. If you want it sweeter, more coconut sugar, and more lime juice if you prefer a more sour flavor.

Remove the lemongrass, galangal and chilies (or simply eat around them), and serve over rice with extra cilantro.

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