Need a delicious and flavourful soup that gets ready in under 30 minutes, then this Tom Kha Soup is a perfect match for you. It is an authentic Thai soup made with fragrant herbs, spices, mushroom, and coconut milk. This soup can be made vegan, whole 30, vegetarian, with chicken or shrimp. Here is how to make it.
Here are some more delectable Thai recipes that you can make along with Tom Kha for your weekend meals – Thai Pumpkin Curry, Thai Red Curry, Pad Thai Noodles, Thai Fried Rice, Thai Squash Fritters, and Thai Basil Chicken.
What is Tom Kha Soup?
You must be wondering what is Tom Kha Soup? Tom means soup and Kha means “galangal” in Thai. So literally, this means soup with galangal.
The first time I enjoyed this Thai Coconut Veg Soup was in a Thai restaurant, and the subtle yet aromatic flavors of this soup just blew my mind. Well, Tom Kha soup is very popular and I have always seen this one on the menu of every possible Thai restaurant, no matter which country it is in.
This soup is very comforting during monsoons or cold winter days, believe me. Once you have a bowl of this, you will not ask for anything more. You can serve it as an appetizer or a main course. On such days, when only Tom Kha is for dinner, I add in some noodles too to make it filling.
Rich and creamy, yet tangy and salty, this soup recipe is light on the stomach but still fills you up for a longer time. The best part, it has so many flavors dancing in your mouth, and the heavenly aroma can make you hungry instantly.
This one is packed with Asian flavors and is a bit spicy along with being tart and sweet in taste, but then you can always adjust the spice while preparing it at home, right?
One serving of this soup has approximately 315 Kcals. The soup is rich in minerals and vitamins too. If you add noodles, the calories will increase per serving but it will be quite filling.
This Thai Coconut Soup Recipe is
- Sweet+ Tart + Salty
- Naturally Gluten-Free
- Can be made Vegan + Vegetarian
- Cooks under 20 minutes
- Can be Doubled or Triples
- Made using easy to find ingredients
- CstomizablMinimal Prep
- Restaurant Quality
- In Expensive
- Freezer Friendly
Here are some more Soup Recipes that you can try, for a light yet comforting meal – Slow Cooker Potato Soup, Chinese Hot and Sour Soup, Healthy Carrot Ginger Soup, Tomato Basil Soup, and Pumpkin Apple Soup.
This soup requires the ingredients which are easily available in the Asian section of your grocery store.
Coconut Milk – The base of the soup is made with coconut milk, which makes it different from other soups. It makes the soup rich and creamy and gives it a distinct flavor. I have used canned coconut milk but you can definitely use freshly made for a more authentic flavor. If you get your hands on coconut cream, it will make the soup creamier.
Vegetables – I have used only onions and button mushrooms. You can also use oyster mushrooms or for a more intense flavor, use rehydrated dried mushrooms. You can make this soup more nutritious by adding your favorite vegetables such as carrot, broccoli, beans, etc. Other veggies like Green Onions, Coloured Bell Peppers, etc can also be added.
Galangal – This is another important ingredient in this recipe, which adds a significant taste. Galangal is a rhizome from the Ginger family and has a more peppery and pungent taste. If you can’t find galangal, you can use ginger instead.
Lemongrass and Kaffir Lime Leaves – These two are my favorite ingredients! The taste that these two add to the soup is out of the world. So make sure you don’t miss them, especially Lemongrass. You will find it in the produce section or frozen in a tube in the freezer section. Use lemon zest instead of kaffir lime leaves if you are not able to find it.
Thai Bird’s Eye Chilli – Adds the spiciness in this soup. You can adjust the amount of these chilies according to your taste.
If you cannot find the same, you can use any spicy red chillies.
Vegetable Broth – As coconut milk is a little thick and creamy, to get the soup into a soupy consistency, we will add vegetable broth, which has the flavor of its own and it adds to the soup’s taste too. I use my Homemade Vegetable Broth to give this soup the best flavor.
Coconut Oil – Make it in Coconut Oil, as it brings out the flavor even more. But if it’s not available, you can use any vegetable oil instead.
Other Ingredients – Apart from the above, the ingredient that is used to make this soup are garlic, lemon, brown sugar, and fish sauce.
How to make Tom Kha?
Heat coconut oil in a pan.
Once the oil is hot, add onion and garlic and fry for a minute.
Smash the galangal and lemongrass with the back of a knife or use a bundle of leaves like I did. Add lemongrass, galangal, Thai red chilli, kaffir lime leaves, and vegetable stock and bring the soup to a boil.
Simmer the heat and let the soup simmer for 25-30 minutes, covered.
Using a strainer, remove the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir leaves, and chillies.
Add mushroom in the soup and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Add fish sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, and coconut milk and bring the soup to a simmer.
Garnish with cilantro, chopped red chillies, and lemon wedges and serve hot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both these soups are the most popular Thai soups and you will find them on most Thai menus in the starters section. Served hot, these soups offer a flavor-packed, spicy soup that is light and tasty.
But it has a slight difference! While the base of Tom Kha Soup has a creamy texture because of the coconut milk that goes perfectly with the Thai ingredients such as Lemon Grass, Galangal, Kaffir Lime Leaves, the base of Tom Yum is made of a boiled spicy broth that combines sweet, spicy, and sour flavors into one dish.
It is a delicious dish that is considered to be very low in carbohydrates, and thus great to include in your meals. It helps in the regulation of blood sugar and also helps in weight loss.
Also because of coconut milk, it’s quite healthy and wholesome, and thus it is very filling and you won’t feel hungry for a long time.
To make this soup in an Instant Pot, press the SAUTE button.
Add coconut oil to the Instant Pot. Add in onion, garlic and fry for a minute. Now add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot except coconut milk, lime juice, and sugar. Close the lid and pressure cook on high for about 5 minutes. Once done, let the pressure release naturally.
Open the lid, using a strainer, remove the onion, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir leaves, and chilies. Add in coconut milk, sugar, lime juice, give it a mix and serve hot.
Smash the lemongrass stalk with the back of a knife and then add it to the soup so that it releases all its flavor. I also like to use lemongrass leaves wrapped in a bindle to flavor the soup instead of the stalk sometimes.
To make it vegan, you can use soy sauce instead of fish sauce. I sometimes even add more vegetables along with mushrooms, whenever I make vegetarian Tom Kha soup.
All the other ingredients used to make this Tom Kha Soup are vegan. If you want to make the soup filling, you can add some chopped tofu.
To make this soup whole 30, use whole 30 fish sauce that has no sugar. Red Boat is the only one that I have come across. Use whole 30 chicken broth and coconut aminos for coconut sugar.
When Tom Kha is made with chicken, it’s called Tom Kha Gai Soup. Add boiled and shredded chicken breast to the basic vegetarian soup to make this version. You can replace the veg broth with chicken broth. You can even add prawns to this soup instead of Chicken.
You can make it into a full meal by adding some cooked noodles to it. I like to add rice vermicelli noodles but you can go ahead and add whichever are easily available.
This Soup is one of those recipes that tastes better the next day! You can store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 3 to 5 days. Just heat it in a pan or microwave, before serving.
This Soup freezes well. Just let it cool down once you prepare it and then store it in a freezer-safe container for about 3 months. Thaw it before you heat the soup.
I would recommend you to freeze this soup without coconut milk. You can add in coconut milk later, once you heat the frozen soup. This works better than freezing the soup with coconut milk.
This soup stands alone and is great for a light weekday meal. I make the noodle versions when I am serving only this soup for my weeknight dinners.
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Tom Kha Soup Recipe
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- ½ cup Onion (Sliced)
- 1 tsp Garlic (Chopped)
- 3 stalk Lemongrass
- 2-3 inch Galangal (Sliced)
- 6-8 Thai Bird's Eye Chillies (Whole)
- 2-3 Kaffir Lime Leaves (Torn)
- 4 cups Vegetable Broth
- 200 g Mushroom (Sliced)
- 1 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 1 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2 cups Coconut Milk
- Heat coconut oil in a pan.
- Once the oil is hot, add onion and garlic and fry for a minute.
- Add lemon grass, galangal, Thai red chilli, kaffir lime leaves and vegetable stock and bring the soup to a boil.
- Simmer the heat and let the soup simmer for 25-30 minutes.
- Using a strainer, remove the onion, lemon grass, galangal, kaffir leaves and chillies.
- Add mushroom in the soup and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add fish sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and coconut milk and bring the soup to a simmer.
- Garnish with cilantro, chopped red chillies and lemon wedges and serve hot.