Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup is a silky, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth rendition of a more traditional Tom Kha Gai but even more heavenly.

Tom Kha Gai is one of my favorite soups to order in a Thai restaurant.  This version includes all of the flavor but less exotic ingredients.  The chicken is velvety soft and the broth is silky and flavorful.  On top of that, it’s very healthy and soothing.

So, this is the next soup to make when the idea of soup pops into your brain!

We begin this delicious soup by sautéing onions and yellow bell peppers in coconut oil and butter.  Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass and red curry paste and cook until it’s fragrant.

Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, potatoes, sugar, fish sauce and salt and cook for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Using an immersion blender, purée the broth until it’s smooth and place it back in the pot.

While the soup is simmering, prepare the chicken for a technique called “velveting” by combining the egg white, cornstarch, rice vinegar and oil in a bowl.  Add the very thinly sliced chicken and marinate it for 20 minutes.

Add the chicken to the hot puréed broth and stir it well to separate the chicken pieces.  Return the broth to a simmer and then turn off the heat and cover the pot.  Let the soup sit, undisturbed for 10 minutes, and then get ready to serve it.

I like to serve the soup with rice, lots of fresh herbs, slivered sugar snap peas and lime wedges or wheels.

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Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Makes: 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes


For the Soup:

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsps finely chopped lemongrass or lemongrass paste
  • 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste, more to taste
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, maybe more
  • 2 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk (regular or light)
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (around 14 ounces, before peeling)
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 & 1/4 tsp kosher salt, more to taste

For the Chicken:

  • 3-4 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts (1¼-1 ½ pounds), cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced about ⅛-inch thick
  • 1 egg white (from 1 large egg)
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

For Serving:

  • lime wedges
  • fresh cilantro, basil, Thai basil and/or mint leaves
  • sugar snap peas, optional (see Chef’s Note below)
  • cooked rice


In a large (5-6 quart) Dutch oven or soup pot, heat the coconut oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onion and yellow bell pepper and sauté until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass and red curry paste and cook for another minute until fragrant.

Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, potatoes, sugar, fish sauce and salt. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.

Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, puree the broth mixture until nice and smooth. (If using a regular blender, let the broth cool for a bit and be sure to vent the top to prevent the heat from building up in the blender container and causing an explosion.)

Taste the puréed broth. Add more salt if needed. If you like things a little spicier, you can add more Thai red curry paste.

While the broth is simmering prepare the chicken by combining the egg white, cornstarch, rice vinegar and oil in a medium size bowl. Add the thinly sliced chicken and stir well to coat. Allow the chicken to marinate for 20 minutes.

After the chicken has marinated for 20 minutes, bring the puréed broth to a low simmer. Add the chicken and stir well to separate the pieces. Allow the broth to return to a simmer (don’t let it boil vigorously) then cover the pot tightly and turn off the heat. Allow the soup to sit, undisturbed for 10 minutes, then serve and enjoy.

For Serving:

There are lots of serving options. We like to serve it with basmati rice (as pictured), lots of fresh herbs and lime wedges.

Chef’s Note:

To use sugar snap peas as a garnish/topping for this soup, simply slice them diagonally and microwave them for 1 minute then rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.

Recipe from The Cafe Sucre Farine


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