Thai Tom Kha Soup

Thai Cuisine is one of the most delicious and beautiful cuisines with depths of color and flavors. This Tom Kha Soup is always a favorite whether it is summer or winter. The balance of the sweetness from the palm sugar, the saltiness of the fish sauce (or soy sauce if you are vegetarian or vegan) and the spiciness from the thai chilies is just unbelievable with the soft and creamy and very subtle flavor of Coconut Milk. Can you tell we are in love with Thai Food?

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 2 -3


Coconut Milk – 1, 14 oz can
Water – 2 cups
Lemon Grass – 1 stalk, cut to 1″ pcs
Galangal/Galanga – 6 pcs.
Kaffir Lime Leaves or Lime Rind
Thai Chilli – to taste, slit
Salt – to taste
Soy Sauce or Fish Sauce – to taste
Palm Sugar – to taste
Baby Corn (small size) – 5
Bamboo Shoots – 10-15 slices
Straw Mushrooms – 5-6
Thai Basil – 2 sprigs
Tomato – 1, med, cubed
Mushrooms – 5-6 , sliced
Extra Firm Tofu – 1/4 block, cubed
Thai Basil – 2 sprigs
Spring Onions – 1 stalk, chopped
Lime – 1 good squeeze
Cilantro – 5 sprigs


1. In a sauce pan, pour the Coconut Milk can.
2. Add Water to it and allow it to come to a boil on medium heat.
3. Add in the Galanga, Lightly bashed Lemon Grass, Lime Leaves or Rind, and Thai Chillies.
4. Mix and allow the soup to boil for 15 minutes.
5. Add in the Palm Sugar, Soy Sauce and the Salt to taste and get the right balance.
6. Add in the Baby Corn, Bamboo Shoots, Straw Mushrooms, Tofu, Tomatoes & Mushrooms.
7. Add a few Basil Leaves to the Soup.
8. Once the Soup is boiling, add in the Lime Juice and the Spring Onions.
9. Switch off the stove and pour in a serving bowl.
10. Garnish with Basil and Cilantro.

1. It is very important to get the right balance of the sweet, Sour and the salty from the Palm Sugar, Soy Sauce and the Lime.
2. Do not add too much Soy Sauce or it may ruin the color of the Soup.
3. To make it Non-Vegetarian, add Cubed (bite size) Chicken Pcs. or Shrimp before adding the Vegetable and then allow the Chicken or the shrimp to cook before adding the vegetables.

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0 thoughts on “Thai Tom Kha Soup

  1. There is a Thai restaurant near my home where they have a “vegetarian” section in their menu. Instead of adding fish sauce in their dishes, they use a mushroom based sauce. I have tried many of their dishes this way and they taste fantastic. I don’t know how/what they do to make the mushroom sauce, but it would be worth experimenting with.

    I also just found out that I am allergic to dairy/gluten. I know you ladies are going to be coming up with allergy friendly foods…So, this can be a great gluten/dairy free soup. You would just have to substiute the soy sauce with gluten free Tamari Sauce (San-J brand is one option), and it is less salty from regular soy sauce.

    1. Hi Purvie,

      Yes, we have seen the mushroom based sauce at our Asian market and it would be a great option. Thanks for sharing the information about the gluten free Tamari Sauce. We’re sure it will help other viewers.

    1. I was thinking exactly the same, rather than having to fish things out.

      Looks good but I have a couple of qs. Does this soup freeze well (w/o the fresh tomatoes)? I like making soups in big batches in my beloved stockpot, most things freeze well but I haven’t tried freezing anything with coconut milk. And does reconstituted creamed coconut work well in this dish?

      TIA, Milady

      1. Hi Milady,

        Because this soup has many vegetables (baby corn, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc) we have never tried to freeze it. Regarding your question on freezing coconut milk, we have frozen just plain coconut milk and used it later. It stays just fine.

    1. This isn’t true ‘Tom kha'( ต้มข่า )means ‘soup galangal’ which is what this is.

      Tom yam is usually sour and hot without coconut milk’Ga-Tee'(กะทิ ). The most interesting food in Thailand isn’t just the famous dishes such as this one but the northeastern and lao dishes and soups made from different plants and dried fish. My favourite place on the planet. Just don’t let those chilli seeds go to your belly coz thats when the trouble starts, never devour the bottom of the bowl.Just a tip.

  2. Hi Hetal N Anuja,

    Thanks for all ur great recipes!!!

    U mentioned in this recipe that u coludn’t get the lime/lemon leaves for that i have suggestion. I bought lemon or lime from grocery store. And saved their seeds and planted them in soil in early spring this year, now i have six plants growing in my backyard. U can grow it in a pot inside ur house and transplant it later in ur backyard.
    Once plant grows well, u will have lemon/lime & of-course their leaves to enjoy!

    Good Luck!

    1. Preety, nice idea. I just wonder how long does it take to grow ? I live in apartment and i cannot transplant it in a backyard. Give me some suggestions.

    2. Hi Preety,

      Thanks for the suggestion on lime plants. However, for authentic Thai flavor, Kaffir Lime Leaves are required – not just the regular limes that we get in the stores. If we come across a Kaffir lime, we will definitely keep your idea in mind. Thanks for sharing.

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