• Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha) Recipe

    Thai Coconut Soup is one of my favorite Asian dishes.

    Make this Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha) recipe for a quick, tasty, nutritious lunch that comes together in just minutes! Paleo and dairy-free! | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    Sometimes, I have recipe writer’s block. The harder I try to think of something to make, the more I can’t. It’s those times when I buy random ingredients and get home to my pantry and fridge that inspiration strikes.

    My local market had wild-caught shrimp on sale, which I couldn’t resist, and when I got home I suddenly thought: tom kha! This is a common Thai soup that is really easy to make but has so many layers of complex flavor.



    Make this Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha) recipe for a quick, tasty, nutritious lunch that comes together in just minutes! Paleo and dairy-free! | StupidEasyPaleo.com

    That’s the flavor hitting your tongue.

    The only problem is that I didn’t have lemongrass or Thai chili paste that most of the recipes I looked at called for, so I thought, “I’m going to solutionize this scenario.”

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    I omitted the lemongrass but doubled the lime juice and used sriracha instead of red chili paste. In 5 minutes – plus the time it took me to peel and devein the shrimp – I had a hot, yummy bowl of tom kha in my hands! It might not be 100% authentic but it is 1) easy, 2) fast and 3) a damn good recreation.

    Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha) Recipe

    Prep Time 10 mins
    Cook Time 10 mins
    Total Time 20 mins
    Yields Serves 2


    • 14 oz (420 ml) can full-fat coconut milk
    • 2 cups (475 ml) chicken stock
    • 1 lb (454 grams) shrimp or chicken breast
    • 1″ piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/8” rounds
    • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
    • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
    • 1 tbsp (15 mL) fish sauce
    • 1 tsp (5 mL) sriracha (omit for Whole30)
    • Chopped cilantro for garnish


    Prepare the shrimp by peeling and deveining if not already done prior to purchase. If using chicken, clean the chicken of any connective tissue and cut into small chunks.

    In a pot over medium heat, combine the coconut milk, chicken stock and ginger. Bring the liquid to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.

    Add the shrimp or chicken, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce and sriracha. Simmer until the shrimp (less than 5 min) or the chicken (5 to 10 minutes) is cooked through.

    Top with fresh chopped cilantro for garnish. If you’d like, you can remove the ginger before serving or just eat around it. I wouldn’t recommend eating the rounds as they can be fibrous and tough.


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    Make this Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha) recipe for a quick, tasty, nutritious lunch that comes together in just minutes! Paleo and dairy-free! | StupidEasyPaleo.com

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    96 thoughts on “Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kha) Recipe

    1. YES! PERFECT! Shrimp is on sale out here too, I will definitely make some of this this weekend. And I can never find lemongrass, though I do have the chili pasts 🙂

      1. I found “Gourmet Garden Lemongrass Stir-in Paste” at the Publix Supermarket here in Lithonia Georgia or check Asian or your local farmers market.

    2. I was sitting in my living room the other day craving thai with an abnormal amount of coconut ingredients. I think I will be making a version of this, this weekend. Thanks for the reminder.

    3. NOM NOM NOM. I want to eat it all day.

      I made a mistake and bought Goya coconut “cream”, which was coconut “juice” and SUGAR–rrrrrrrr, so it came out very sweet. But I’ll make it again with the real stuff.

      1. Oh oh oh!! Sounds soooo good! I love it when folks make recipes their own. You’ve made my mouth totally water 🙂

    4. Hi, awesome recipe just made this, silly me didn’t have red paste so replaced it with chilli powder and chilli flakes i also decided i wanted more vegies so added some broccoli and silver-beet. It was the best!!! Thank You for your awesome recipes this is one of my favourite sites that inspires me each week when planning for the weeks meals 🙂


      1. Hi Keah…I absolutely love it when readers take the recipes here and add their own twists! That, to me, is the true sign that you’ve embraced the art of cooking. Thank you SO much for letting me know that. It’s really a joy to be able to do this. Have a great day!

    5. Found this recipe through the Just Eat Real Food facebook page. Whipped it up before leaving for work this morning (adding some shredded bok choy) to bring as lunch. This is really fantastic! So easy, simple and quick! Definitely a keeper.

    6. Just made this and it was amazing. The only thing I did differently is to add some salt and some extra siracha. I got to use my homemade broth too so I am feeling extra healthy 🙂 Thanks for the recipe.

      1. Leah, you’re making me drool!! That’s no fair 😉 Now I want to make some more. In fact, this might be tomorrow’s dinner! Thanks for writing!

      1. Hi Tim…I’d do the same ingredients and maybe cook for about 2 hours on high (possibly a bit more if the veggies are still not tender) then remove the lid in the last half of cooking so the broth isn’t as watery (as is the tendency with crock pot soups).

    7. OMG, this is going on my short list of things to try to make this weekend along with your southwest chicken soup!!!! Thank you!

    8. My hubby and I aren’t sohisticated Thai afficionatos, but we like what we’ve had so far at local Thai restaurants. I tried this tonite, and it took us about 3 spoonfuls to decide we liked the tastes. After one bowl we needed more, and after that one, we decided we want to eat this all the time. I will keep experimenting with adding different veggies. Tonite I slivered some scallions and spinach, because we had no protiens on hand.

    9. Tried Tom Kha at a local Thai place this fall and became obsessed with finding a great Paleo version. This was easy, super-close to the original i tried, and I loved that it had simple ingredients. This is a favorite and in my rotation! Well done! 🙂

    10. Tom Kha is one of the soups that does not require chili paste. However, you can use fresh chili instead if you want to spice it up. What you need is Galangal, in Thai called “Kha” (ginger can also be used for substitution if you can’t not find galangal in your area)

    11. Great recipe, thanks Steph!

      Real easy to adapt to a kosher recipe too
      (just forgo the shrimp and fish-oil, and make sure the coconut milk does not contain any dairy).

      – Was more liberal with the ginger (nice kick)
      – Blend of Shitake/White mushrooms
      – 4 Tbsps of Sugar (I know this a health-friendly blog, but still…)

    12. This is probably one of the first recipes EVER, that tasted just as good as I had hoped AND was jut as easy to make! I did tear up some cabbage and added it to make the soup a little “heartier” but the broth alone was tasty enough 🙂

    13. I saw this recipe on Facebook months ago and I kept thinking I should try it. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. I made it my own but it was so much better than I ever thought. I’m not sure what I made would still be called tom kha but I will make this again and again. I couldn’t find lemongrass and I didn’t have sriracha and I don’t like mushrooms. What I did have was some vegetables from my garden so I added some radishes, green onions, garlic and chives. I added 2 cayenne peppers and 4 serrano peppers. I also added some water chestnuts and some salt & pepper. It might not sound like the same soup – but I never would have made it without this. Thanks.

    14. This Recipe was perfect!! Super easy and quick to whip up. I ended up using lower fat coconut milk and adding in water chestnuts. This is my new favorite soup recipe. Have you tryed freezing it yet?

    15. I noticed the picture that accompanies the recipe has scallions in it. They aren’t included in the recipe – are they used as a garnish only, or should they be part of the soup while it’s cooking?

      1. Hi Allison…you could definitely add the white / light green part of a scallion or two to the broth as it’s cooking then garnish with the darker tops after cooking.

        1. It was delicious! I enjoyed the green onions with it. I had it for leftovers the next day at lunch and I think it was even better.

    16. Found it a bit bland even with addition of lemongrass, added scallions, more sriracha, a heaping dollop of chili garlic paste. Guess I can’t love’em all, sorry!

      1. Hmmmm…first time I’ve heard that re: this recipe. Fish sauce perhaps?

        I’m not sure how long you’ve been Paleo, but sometimes when people are relatively new to it, their taste buds are still used to hyper-sweet, -salty, etc flavors that are found in more processed foods.

    17. Used your recipe today to make my husband a “feel better” soup. I used vegetable broth and Shrimp adding, shallots, kale, Red bell pepper, snow peas, and carrots love the extra veg. I also doubled up the ginger, green onion, and siracha got a nice and spicy clear the sinuses soup lol

      Great soup thanks for sharing, hubby loved it!

    18. Hi
      I live in Ireland( Europe ) so am wondering where I would get fish sauce. It is not an ingredient I have seen anywhere or maybe I am looking in the wrong place.

      1. Late reply, but if I could get it in a supermarket in Poland, you should too in Ireland. Just look through the shelves with oriental thingies, like coconut milk, soy sauce, wasabi, etc.

    19. OMG! This soup is AMAZING! I used shiitake mushrooms and added a little spaghetti squash. It tastes just like Pho!

      Amazing recipe!

    20. Have you tried it with chicken, like you put in your ingredients list? Not too sure if I am a fan of soup with shrimp in it. I think it’s one of those recipes where it sounds a bit odd but will be delicious. I guess it’s trial and error. Can I add my own spices like chilli or black pepper

      1. Hi Adam,

        Yep, I’ve made it with chicken and shrimp before. It’s good. You can certainly dress it up with spices however you’d like!

        1. Thanks for the reply. I shall try all 3. Like I said I’m not really a fan of soup with shrimp in it, but that’s just going off recipes and thinking eww that doesn’t sound great. But we can’t go by in life thinking that doesn’t sound great. I’ve gotta man up and try it. I will also try it with shrimp and chicken and also just with chicken. I think I’ll be more of a fan of the soup with it being just chicken.

    21. Apart from the super-awesome taste (damn, how I loved it!), I really enjoyed the ingredients I could get in a single grocery store, here, in Poland, where usually looking for things to prepare something oriental takes forever, with many quirky shops along the way, haha.

      Thanks a lot for the recipe, me and my wife were simply blown away… although deveining the shrimps took forever, lol ;). Yet, it was well worth it!

      Kudos and hugs!
      Bartek, Warsaw, Poland.

      1. That’s great, Bartek! I’m so happy you liked it. You can definitely make it with chicken if that’s easier 🙂

        My family is from the Warsaw area (great-grandparents, etc.) I’ve never been but I would love to go someday!

    22. This looks great! I’m doing whole 30 right now (my second time), and I’m curious. What do you recommend in place of Sriracha to make it spicy?

      1. Hi Candi…I’ll be sharing this actually today on the Whole30 feed. My recommendation is some birds eye chili or chili flakes!

    23. Thanks for this quick and easy delicious soup recipe. I just made it for lunch and it made me happy! I will definitely make it again. I need these kind of recipes since I am doing whole 30 this month! And soup is so perfect.
      I just found your website and I’m super excited to try more recipes!

    24. As if I didn’t already love your blog and all your recipes enough! I have been eating paleo for 2 years now, but one of my favorite foods is Thai and I can never seem to recreate the complex flavors to taste like our favorite restaurant. Tom Kha Kai is my favorite!! After pinning this a year ago, I finally had such a strong craving for it that I “broke down” and made it. It’s Ah-mazing!!! I’m kicking myself for not trying it sooner. The best part is its so simple and made with everything I almost always have on hand.
      I made it by simmering the soup part first and making Cracklin Chicken (salted only) then removed skin, chopped it, added it and the remaining items and simmer a little longer. My new addiction!
      Thank you once again for a great recipe!

    25. So delicious… There’s a reason this recipe is among the short list of “favorites.” Thank you, Steph! My 10-year-old daughter asked “Why don’t you make this more often?” Never mind that I just came across this recipe yesterday! 🙂 My husband pointed out that I could’ve used some of the shrimp stock he’d made and put in the freezer. I completely forgot we had some, so–oh shucks–we’re going to have to make this again very soon using the shrimp stock!

    26. Just made this from Just Eat Real Food on Facebook. It turned out great. here are my tweaks: 1) Double batch, duh!! 2) I did chop up one stick of lemongrass. 3) I used some homemade canned red chile sauce- it’s just hot chile with a little vinegar. 4) To get the needed sweetness that is missing, added coconut nectar. I think this may be paleo friendly. It is supposed to be much better than using sugar, and it has some tang that is good in Thai food. 5) added extra veggies to make a whole meal- eggplant, fresh green beans and sweet red peppers 6) used sliced shitake mushrooms.
      This turned out tasting like the real deal at a good Thai place!!! I even used some really old shrimp from the freezer. They were tough, but, did add good flavor to the broth.
      It is so fast to make!!

    27. Mmmm looks amazing! So I e never cooked with ginger. Do I remove the “rounds” before we eat? How big exactly do I cut the ginger?

      1. Yes, in a recipe like this they are essentially the same thing. On this site, I use stock and broth interchangeably though in a culinary sense they are different.

    28. Just made this tonight, but was crushed to find out that I was out of mushrooms! I subbed with sliced zucchini and added some spinach and it still turned out delish! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

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