Tom Kha Gai


Chef Andrew Zimmern's quick version of this classic Thai coconut soup gets flavor from a combination of fish sauce, chili paste, lemongrass, and lime leaves. Slideshow:  More Soup Recipes 

Tom Kha Gai
Photo: © Con Poulos
Total Time:
40 mins


  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick

  • 1/4 cup fish sauce

  • 3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • 3 tablespoons nam prik pao (Thai chili paste) (see Note)

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 2 fresh or frozen makrut lime leaves

  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, tender inner white part only, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

  • Two 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

  • 2 Thai chiles, seeded and very thinly sliced on the diagonal, plus more for garnish

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves, for garnish

  • Limes wedges, for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the fish sauce.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the stock with the chili paste, sugar, lime leaves and lemongrass and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes.

  3. Add the chicken and fish sauce to the saucepan along with the shiitakes and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the lime leaves. Stir in the lime juice and chiles and season with salt. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle the soup with the cilantro and serve with lime wedges and sliced chiles.


Nam prik pao is a sweet and spicy Thai condiment. It's available at Asian markets and online at

Suggested Pairing

Briny, citrus-inflected white.

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