Tom Kha Gai or Thai Coconut Milk Soup is usually a hard soup to make – this is our easy variation using ingredients you probably have on hand!
What is Tom Kha Gai?
Tom Kha Gai is a traditional Thai chicken coconut soup. This famous Thai food originated in Laos. Tom Kha Gai is somewhat similar to Tom Yum although the flavors are less spicy and sour than Tom Yum soup which is more popular and famous; this is a mixture of the two.
Do you use Coconut milk in Tom Kha Gai?
Coconut Milk is the main ingredient of this authentic Thai dish because it gives Tom Kha Gai soup a creamy and smooth texture. Coconut milk is a very common ingredient in Thai cooking although not all of them use it every time. You can certainly use Lite Coconut Milk but it won’t give you the same creamy texture.
Is the Coconut Milk necessary in Tom Kha Gai?
Yes, there is no way around it. When I first started making this soup not having any coconut milk on hand and using almond milk instead I can honestly say I didn’t think it was very good. The finished product turned out tasting like a watered down vegetable soup with an odd, off putting flavor.
The coconut milk gives the broth its signature creamy texture without adding cream or using any animal products (something common in westernized Thai restaurants that serve Tom Kha Gai).
Can you Cook Tom Kha Gai in an Instant Pot or Crockpot?
This recipe is based on stovetop cooking, which I believe is the best way to enjoy this soup. Because this is a very quick soup to make, and ingredients are added at different intervals, I highly recommend the stove top. But if your heart is set on it, it can be made in an electric pressure cooker, which is still a good way to enjoy the soup. Just use your “SAUTE” setting on any smart pressure cooker and cook it that way! If you’re using the Crock Pot, just toss in all the ingredients and cook on low until the vegetables are soft.
Tom Kha Gai Thai Coconut Soup
- 1 Tbs Coconut Oil or EVOO
- ½ yellow onion chopped
- 2 red peppers chopped
- 1 large carrot cut into thin 2”-long pieces (I use baby carrots, no peeling and the perfect size)
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbs curry powder
- 1 teaspoon chili paste or to taste
- Salt to taste
- 1 15- oz can coconut milk shaken well
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup cooked chicken shredded (rotisserie works well)
- ⅓ cup chopped basil
- 1 package ramen noodles seasoning packet discarded
- lime slices and fresh basil for garnish
- In a stock pot over medium heat, heat oil and sauté onion, peppers, and carrots until tender (about 6-8 minutes)
- Add garlic and stir until fragrant
- Add curry powder, chili, and salt and stir until combined
- Pour in coconut milk and chicken broth and bring to a simmer
- Added shredded chicken, basil , and noodles and cook until noodles are al dente (About 3-5 minutes)
- Garnish with lime slices and basil (A good squeeze of lime adds a nice acidic touch)