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Tom Ka Soup Recipe

You put ‘da lime in ‘da coconut and mix um both together… and you almost have a tom ka soup recipe. Well, not quite, but I love that song!

I am guessing there are as many versions of Tom Ka Soup as there are of matzo ball soup.

Tom Ka Soup is a common menu item in many Thai restaurants, most often being served with chicken and not shrimp.

Well, I was told this was Mama’s recipe and it contains shrimp, though Aloy Modern Thai – the delicious, (aloy means delicious) new Thai restaurant in LoDo, served it with chicken. Go figure!

Truthfully, I know you won’t go wrong with either!

Yes, I’ve been slurping this soup all week and am very happy.

Mama’s recipe must be Thai comfort food at its best.

Tom Kha Gai is Thai coconut chicken soup and is thought to boost one’s immunity which is perfect during the cold/ flu season.

Tom kha contains chicken or shrimp, herbs such as galangal or ginger in my case, mushrooms, tomatoes, and the lime and the coconut!

This sweet and spicy, tart soup with a hint of spice from a favorite chili sauce, satisfies all my inner desires-which is a good thing since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

It is a satisfying and divine soup that is simple to make.

tom ka soup recipe

How to Make This Tom Ka Soup Recipe:

It begins by combining chicken stock or vegetable broth, kaffir lime leaves and creamy coconut milk in a large pot.

Let that simmer 15 minutes and then add in some tomatoes, or red bell peppers, a few sliced mushrooms and some sliced onion.

Use your favorite button mushrooms but lately I’ve been spying oyster mushrooms, straw mushrooms and beech mushrooms at my nearest Whole Foods.

Now add in some sliced, poached chicken breast or shrimp, fish sauce and brown sugar or palm sugar for flavor.

That’s about it except for a good squeeze of fresh lime juice, a dash of chili oil or a spoonful of Thai red curry paste to taste and some fresh cilantro for garnish.

Any of the above can be served on the side as it’s always nice to squeeze your own lime wedge!

Of course, a few minced green onions on top wouldn’t be bad either.

tom ka soup recipe

Depending on how much protein you add in the way of chicken or shrimp, this tom kha soup recipe could be a main course.

It is perfect served with a Thai pomelo salad on the side.

Is this an authentic Thai recipe?

The source of this recipe is Mama. And Mama can’t be wrong, can she?

Thai cuisine is one of my favorites and I hope this simple recipe encourages you to try my favorite Thai soup.

Thai ingredients for this Tom Ka Soup Recipe:

This recipe calls for some common Thai ingredients. Sometimes I have these on hand, but this time I didn’t.

I didn’t have Kaffir lime leaves so I subbed in a bay leaf and the zest of a lime.Next time I visit my local Asian market I will buy some lime leaves. They can be stored in the freezer and taken out as needed.

Instead of galangal root I substituted fresh ginger along with a squirt of lemongrass paste from the tube I buy in the fresh produce section of my local grocery store.

Palm sugar can be substituted with brown sugar, though I used palm sugar. Palm sugar does have a lower gycemic index than regular sugar and depending on how you buy it, it may look like sap. The hardened palm sugar is like round-ish sugar cubes and tastes about the same.

Feel free to use chicken or shrimp or both in the recipe.

Tom Ka Soup recipe

Don’t have fish sauce? Soy sauce can be substituted, and though there will be saltiness, the flavor will be subtlety different.

When buying ingredients for this flavorful tom ka soup recipe or any other ethnic recipes, I encourage you to buy ingredients from those countries. They give a more authentic flavor.

This sour soup is one of my favorite Thai dishes.

And being that this Thai coconut soup recipe came from Mama…well Mama’s recipes are always the best!

Need More Thai?

Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Thai Chicken Soup

Thai Chicken Salad or Larb

Larb in a lotus dish

Easy Thai Peanut Sauce


Thai peanut sauce

I’d Love it if You’d Follow Me and Pin and Share!

tom ka soup

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tom ka soup

Tom Ka Soup Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 35 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 - 6 Servings 1x
  • Category: Soups/Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Thai


This lime and coconut chicken soup is my favorite Thai soup. With its tangy, sweet and spicy flavors, I bet you will love it, too!


Units Scale

4 c chicken stock (I used two cans of low sodium broth.)
5 c of coconut milk (I used two cans.)
4 Kaffir lime leaves (I used 1 bay leaf, and zest of one lime.)
Galangal – 8 pieces (I used 1.7 oz of ginger cut in thick slices)
1 T lemongrass paste

2 tomatoes – cut in wedges
610 oz of mushrooms (I used button mushrooms, but next time would probably try some oyster mushrooms)
2 oz red onion or 1 small onion sliced thin

16 large shrimp or 2 poached chicken breasts, sliced thinly into strips
6 T Thai fish sauce
6 t palm or brown sugar

4 T fresh lime juice
Chili oil to taste
Cilantro to garnish


Combine chicken stock, coconut milk, kaffir lime or substitutions and ginger or galangal and lemongrass paste in a medium sized pot. Simmer uncovered about 15 minutes until the broth is nice and infused and you can smell it.

Add tomato, mushrooms, and red onion and wait until the vegetables are almost cooked.

Add protein of choice, or some of both, fish sauce and palm sugar.

Add a squeeze of lime to each bowl.Feel free to make it your own by adding some chili oil and cilantro.


Please see post above for more information.


Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Tuesday 11th of January 2022

YUM!!! The perfect (and most delicious) way to warm up from the inside out!!


Tuesday 11th of January 2022

Wish I were holding that bowl of goodness right now as it's COLD and I am HUNGRY!


Sunday 9th of January 2022

I order this whenever we get get Thai food. Just love it! Love it even more that I now have a recipe to make for myself anytime I want it. Love this. Thanks for sharing.

Chef Mimi

Sunday 9th of January 2022

Oh I bet this is so satisfying. The flavors!!! I’m growing a rangpur lime - I wonder if that could sub for a kaffir lime leaf. I’ll have to check. Thanks for this recipe!!!