Tom Kha – Thai Coconut Soup

Tom Kha – Thai Coconut Soup

With simple ingredients but a broth of unbelievable flavor, tom kha is easily made vegan by using vegetable broth for bone broth, soy sauce for fish sauce, and firm tofu for the protein. Ideally you have an Asian market nearby, but fresh lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves can now be found in many grocery stores. If not, substitute lemongrass paste, fresh ginger root and lime juice.


  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 small red jalapeño or 2 Thai chilis, optional, for spiciness
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (or 2 tsp lemongrass paste)
  • 3 quarter-inch slices galangal root (or ginger-root)
  • 1 quart bone broth
  • 1 large kaffir lime leaf (or 1 tbsp lime juice)
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms such as button or shiitake, sliced
  • 1 cup optional veggies, such as snow peas or sliced carrots
  • 2 15-oz cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice (in addition to above)
  • 1 lb raw boneless skinless diced chicken meat or whole raw peeled deveined shrimp
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce or more, to taste


  • Large soup pot or Dutch oven
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Mallet or rolling pin
  • Measuring spoons
  • Can opener

How to:

Begin heating the pot on medium heat. Halve and slice the onion. Slice the jalapeño or chilis, if using. Pound the lemongrass stalk with mallet or rolling pin, then slice into 2-inch lengths. Add the coconut oil to the pot, coating the bottom. Add the onion, chilis (if using), garlic, red curry paste, lemongrass, and galangal to the pot.

Stir frequently and cook about 2 minutes.

Add the broth and kaffir lime leaf. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. At this point, you may strain out the lime leaf, lemongrass and galangal. Taking them out later is harder, but—leaving them in longer will add more flavor. Up to you!

Remove the cover and add the mushrooms, optional veggies if using, and coconut milk. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken or shrimp is just cooked.

Fish out the lime leaf, lemongrass and galangal. Serve steaming hot, sit back, and marvel at what you have just created!