This Tom Kha Gai Thai Coconut Soup is the first in a Thai Take-Out Dinner Series. Check back next week for Pad See Ew, Yellow Curry with Prawns, and Thai Iced Tea!
This soup is my chicken noodle soup. It's the soup I crave when I'm sick in bed or when I've had a bad day and need something comforting. I could eat it daily.
We love Thai food in this house. If given the choice, I think my husband and I would order it once or twice a week. We have this amazing, family owned little place in our town that we've been going to for years and just love. The owners are so sweet and always hang around our table offering Thai cooking and recipe tips. I'd been making this version of the soup for the last few years and was never really truly happy with it, so I figured I'd ask what their secret is. After listening to her explain the simple process to making this soup, I finally figured out that the culprit was the chile paste I had been using. Chile pastes were created for American's in order to make some of the Thai ingredients more accessible. I try not to use them and prefer to use fresh ingredients, but sometimes they are hard to find. The problem is that the paste has a few ingredients in it that are not normally in Tom Kha Gai, so that's why I wasn't getting the authentic flavor I was so desperately looking for. In the real deal, they just use homemade dried and ground Thai chiles.
The owner was sweet enough to send me home with a container of their homemade ground chiles and it made a world of difference! Now this recipe tastes exactly like the restaurant, and at a fraction of the cost! You can make your own at home by drying and grinding Thai chiles, or you can buy it at any Asian market and some health food stores in the Asian foods aisle. I prefer the finely ground spices where the seeds are not noticeable. This recipe is mild, so if you can handle the heat you're welcome to add an extra dash, but I warn you : this stuff will go a REALLY long way. My husband loves spice and he can't handle more than a tiny pinch sprinkled on is food.
You will also want a really good quality fish sauce for any Thai dish you're making. Red Boat Fish Sauce company is the only one on the mainstream market that is both Paleo and SCD/GAPs legal. It's aged 12-16 months and comes directly from Vietnam. They bottle only pure first press “extra virgin” fish sauce so you get an extract that is made of just two all natural ingredients: fresh wild caught anchovy and sea salt. For years I used Thai Kitchen fish sauce and looked past the sugar in the ingredient list, but I've tasted the two side by side now and notice a huge difference.
Heba @ My Life in a Pyramid
Looks delicious – I love Thai food too! I am pinning this and can’t wait to try once I gather all the needed ingredients. Happy Mother’s Day to you! xo Heba
Sam @ Fit for My Fork
Thai food is one of my absolute favourites – and this looks just as good as the one I’ve had out at a Thai restaurant! Yum!
I love love love thai food, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series 🙂
Yummy!! I totally agree about this being a comfort food. I could eat it almost every day and always crave it when I’m sick!!
This is James from FastPaleo.com, the paleo recipe sharing site. I am really happy I found your blog, and wondered if you might want to share some of your paleo recipes on FastPaleo.com. I link back to your blog, and shout you out on our Facebook page to help you build traffic in return. It’s been a great way to help everyone and to grow the paleo community.
Hope to hear from you!
FastPaleo recipe upload: https://fastpaleo.com/upload-a-recipe/
Against All Grain
Hi James – thanks for reaching out! I’d love to contribute some recipes.
I absolutely loooove this soup. I was able to find dried kaffir lime leaves and galangal at Whole Foods so now I can finally try this recipe!
Thai Food Recipes
I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one these days.
Against All Grain
Thank you! It’s a free theme but my husband is computer savvy so we did some custom css coding ourselves.
Just made this one! I love Thai food and since I moved out of Brooklyn, the one Thai restaurant in my rural town just doesn’t cut it!
I didn’t have the fish sauce, so I substituted an anchovy which I remember hearing somewhere was a good substitute.
Couldn’t find the fresh keffir leaves, but they had them shredded in a jar in the asian aisle.
Surprisingly couldn’t find any thai chilis either, so i used some chili oil.
I also added a bag of oriental mixed vegetables to make this a meal instead of an appetizer.
This recipe ROCKS!!! I made it tonight for dinner and there is not a DROP left. A hit for sure and super healthy, fast, and filling.
Against All Grain
It’s one of our favorites! Making it tomorrow actually 🙂
sweet heavens to betsy, there is a legal fish sauce i can buy! i have a similar recipe from cooking light that i am going to attempt to modify. need to figure out soy sauce substitution and siracha sauce then i am golden! this looks very similar and oh so delish! thai food here i come!!!!
I made the Thai Curry with Prawns over the weekend. Last night I made the Tom Kha and the Thai Iced Tea. DEEEEEEEEEEEELICIOUS! Please oh Please oh Please post how to make Massaman Curry!
Just made this recipe tonight with several modifications and it was delightful! I was pleasantly surprised at how similar is did in fact taste to the real version you would order at a Thai restaurant.
I could not find Kaffir leaves anywhere. But after some research decided upon substituting some lime zest for it instead. I use red thai chili paste instead of dried ground. Honey instead of the sugar. Pre-cut, tubed lemongrass instead of fresh from the stalk., and regular garlic.
Even after making all these substitutions, it was delicious. Next time i plan on doubling the recipe so that i have more.
Thanks for posting!
I made this tonight, following your recipe for the most part. I used 1/4 tsp of Thai chili powder (instead of 1/8 tsp) and also added cauliflower florets and slices of red bell pepper. It was FANTASTIC!!
Sounds amazing! How many people does this serve? I couldn’t find that in the recipe. Thank you!!
This soup tastes just like from our favorite Thai restaurant! In the cookbook the recipe is slightly different, leaving out the sugar and using fresh chillies. It calls for 8 whole Thai chillies though, can that be correct? Seems like it would be smokin hot! I used 1 sliced jalapeno because I had it already. Balance of flavors was just right, and I plan to make this over and over again!
I meant to ask about the onions in your picture, not post a link to your recipe. Anyhow, I see what looks like white/yellow onions in a couple of your pictures, but not in the recipe. Can you help?
In her cookbook, it calls for 1/2 onion thinly sliced. Add along with the mushrooms
Hi, I was comparing your website photos to the recipe and it looks like there is white onion in there as well? Also, what is pictured right next to the mushrooms? And do you think a coffee grinder will work to grind up the thai chiles in the thai kitchen jar? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this!
I LOVE this soup and my two toddlers do too! Thank you Danielle.