Chef's CornerDesiree Brassert

Thai Tom Kha Soup

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Thai Tom Kha Soup – Desiree Brassert

This creamy, fragrant, soul-warming soup is hard to beat. Let the red curry paste work its magic even if some aromatics are unavailable. Here is the chicken version. A few easy changes can make it vegan.

Ingredients for 8 to 10 servings

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 small white onion, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small fresh hot pepper, preferably red, or to taste
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, closest to roots, leaf blades discarded
  • 1 knob of ginger
  • 1 knob of galanga
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves or a small piece of lime rind
  • 3 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons of fish sauce (soy sauce for vegan version)
  • 4 cups of chicken stock (vegetable stock for vegan version)
  • 4 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 whole boneless chicken breast cut into small cubes
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish


  1. Heat coconut oil in a soup pot and add onions, garlic, pepper, lemongrass, ginger, galanga, kaffir lime leaves, and curry paste.
  2. Fry until fragrant for 5 minutes then add the chicken stock.
  3. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, preferably one hour.
  4. Strain the solids and return the stock to the soup pot.
  5. Add coconut milk, chicken breast and remaining ingredients except for the cilantro.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked.
  7. Adjust the seasoning to your taste by adding more curry paste, fish sauce, lime juice, or sugar.
  8. Garnish with cilantro before serving.