Lemongrass Chicken Soup

Lemongrass chicken coconut soup

Lemongrass Chicken Coconut Soup

Copyright 2014 by Jacqueline Peppard, all rights reserved

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Known as Tom Kha Gai.


Serves 4


6 cups chicken stock

2 chicken breasts, sliced or 2 cups roasted chicken shredded

8 inch stalk fresh lemongrass, tough outer layers removed finely minced

6-10 Kaffir limes leaves torn (depends on size) or substitute 1 TBS lime zest (buy here)

1 inch piece galangal or ginger finely minced (buy here)

1/2 teaspoon saffron or substitute turmeric

2-4 garlic cloves (I like using 4)

1 can coconut milk (2 cups)

6 scallions sliced thin and divided

1 & 1/2 TBS toasted sesame oil

Prep all ingredients before you start cooking. In a 5 quart stock pan heated to medium, lightly saute the garlic, lemongrass, half of scallions, and ginger in 1TBS roasted sesame oil until slightly fragrant but not brown. Add broth and lime leaves (or zest) and bring to a slight boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain broth into clean saucepan; discard solids.

Add coconut milk, saffron (or turmeric), chicken, and bring to a low simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, saute remaining half of scallions in 1/2 TBS toasted sesame oil until bright green. Add to soup, stir thoroughly, and remove from heat.

Ladle soup into serving bowls and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.


While Kaffir lime leaves provide superior flavor, if you can’t find them, substitute ¼ cup lime juice and add at end.

1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper sauteed first and then add green onions.

If you would like a creamier texture, dissolve 3 TBS kuzu root starch in a little water and simmer in soup for about 2 minutes. Add this just as chicken is almost cooked.

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2 thoughts on “Lemongrass Chicken Soup

  1. Hi,
    Love the blog, it really makes things simple…you know for those of us who want to eat well but don’t know where to start!

    I love Thai food and this is one of my favorite dishes, I do have a few questions though! How can I make a Vegan friendly version of this?
    Is sweet or unsweetened Coconut milk desired for this dish?
    Also, what is the trick in preserving the delicate tastes in this soup during preparation (I’ve tried making this once already and the tastes went horribly wrong 🙂 )


    • Hey, thanks for visiting my blog! To make a vegan friendly soup, use a total of 2 cans coconut milk (4 cups) and replace chicken broth with only 2 cups vegetable broth. Replace chicken with two cups of cubed carrots and cook them until soft or add two cups cubed tofu at the end to add meatiness. You could also use two cups of sautéed mushrooms added with scallions to beef up the texture.
      It is best to use unsweetened coconut milk, because sweetened coconut milk has added refined sugar. Coconut milk has plenty of naturally occurring sugars, about 3 grams per 1/2 cup, and become more concentrated when cooked.
      When sautéing anything, keep at medium heat and do not walk away until the process has been completed. My guess is you probably sautéed the spices at too high a heat and burned them. If this happens again in any instance, throw away the burnt whatever, and start over. Once you have burned the spices, there is no way to save the dish so don’t waste the other ingredients.
      Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

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