Recipe courtesy of Jet Tila

Tom Kha Gai

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 20 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Kha is the Thai word for galanga, a root that resembles ginger but tastes nothing like it. It’s very spicy and herbaceous, with a strong pine scent, and it’s the backbone of this delicious soup!


Thai Chicken Stock:


  1. Bring the chicken stock, lemongrass, lime leaves, galanga root and dried chiles to a simmer in a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken powder, chicken and mushrooms and cook until the chicken is almost cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Stir the fish sauce, lime juice, coconut milk and chili paste into the saucepan. Since the chili paste is thick, use a whisk to help break it apart and incorporate into the soup. Add the chopped cabbage and cook until just tender, about 1 minute.
  3. Divide the soup among serving bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Thai Chicken Stock:

Yield: 2 quarts of stock
  1. Place the chicken carcass or chicken pieces in an 8-quart stockpot and cover with 8 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken carcass or pieces and rinse under cold running water until the sediment and scum have washed away. Dump out the cooking liquid from the pot and give the pot a quick rinse. Return the chicken carcass or pieces to the pot and cover with 8 cups fresh water. Bring the stock to a full rolling boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Add the galanga root, lemongrass, lime leaves, garlic, shallot and chiles to the pot and simmer, skimming off any foam and fat often, about 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any additional fat and strain the stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve. If you’re not using this stock immediately, you can hold it in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for 6 months.

Cook’s Note

If you don’t feel like making stock from scratch, you can shortcut this method by adding the aromatics to boxed chicken stock or chicken bone broth. If you like your soup extra spicy, use fresh Thai chiles instead of dried ones.