Tom Kha (Coconut Soup)

Tom Kha (Coconut Soup) can often be found at Thai restaurants, and it’s delicious. The below recipe takes several that I found online into account, and puts a bit of my own spin on it. Note that all of the vegetable ingredients are optional, so you can really customize this as you see fit.


  • Chicken Stock or Broth
  • Thai Fish Sauce
  • Serrano or other hot pepper
  • Ginger (fresh or ground)
  • Lemongrass
  • Ground Kaffir Lime Leaf
  • Canned Mushrooms (any type)
  • Canned baby corn
  • Canned Bamboo Shoots
  • Canned Water Chestnuts
  • Fresh Bell Peppers (any colors)
  • Red or Green Onion
  • Hot Chili Oil
  • Cilantro

  1. Cut mushrooms, baby corn, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, fresh bell peppers, and red onion to desired size. Some restaurants serve their veggie ingredients whole or julienned. Personally I like my soup to fit on my spoon, so as you can see above, I chop my veggies.
  2. Bring chicken stock or broth to a boil. Prepare according to instructions on product (add water if instructed to do so). Then, reduce to simmer.
  3. Chop open hot pepper on long axis, but do not finely chop. Soak hot pepper, lemongrass, and ginger (if fresh) in simmering water for at least 10 minutes, until flavors meld. (I definitely recommend longer than 10 minutes if you want a more robust flavor.)
  4. Discard solids. This is important, especially if you used dehydrated lemongrass. Because it will still be hard like wood, and will never reconstitute no matter what the jar says. So take all of that stuff out and compost it, or throw it away.
  5. Stir in ginger (if ground), and kaffir lime leaf. (This is really to-taste, depending on how much or little you like both of these flavors.)
  6. Add veggies & simmer 20 minutes.
  7. Add one can of coconut milk, 2 TBSP fish sauce, 1 TSP sugar. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Portion into bowl. Top with a drizzle of hot chili oil, and garnish with cilantro leaves.
  9. Serve hot.