This Thai Coconut Soup is a light and tasty version of Tom Kha Gai – one of Thailand’s most famous soups. This soup perfectly balances the sour, sweet, salty and spicy flavors that Thai food is famous for.
Literally translated, Tom Kha Gai means “chicken galangal soup.” However, this version uses tofu instead of chicken. In Thailand, Tom Kha Gai is usually eaten alongside rice, with the soup being spooned over the rice to make something more similar to a curry than a soup. It does make more of a complete meal with rice, but this Thai Coconut Soup is so delicious that you can certainly eat it with just a spoon alone!
The hardest part of making this Thai Coconut Soup at home is simply tracking down the right ingredients. However, hunting for galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves will be well worth the soup that results in their procurement.
Despite the coconut milk, the flavor profile should be predominantly sour, followed by salty then sweet. Be sure to taste your soup at the end of cooking and make any adjustments necessary.
This recipe was adapted from Tyler Florence’s Thai Coconut Chicken Recipe.
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 10 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
- 2 small Thai chiles, halved lengthwise
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 inch fresh galangal, minced
- 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), split open
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 7 ounces tofu, drained, pressed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce (omit to make vegan)
- 1 ½ teaspoons coconut sugar
- Juice of 2 limes
- 10 grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 head of broccoli, steamed
- 2 large carrots, diced and steamed
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Bean sprouts, for garnish
- Green onion, chopped, for garnish
- Bring the vegetable broth to a boil over medium heat in a large pot.
- Add the kaffir lime leaves, chiles, garlic, galangal and lemongrass.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and gently simmer to let the ingredients infuse the broth, about 10 minutes.
- While the soup is simmering, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a separate pan. Add the tofu and stir fry until they turn a light golden brown. If desired, pour in a small amount of the broth – the tofu will sizzle and pop, creating a caramelized exterior. Remove from heat when the tofu is a deep golden brown and slightly crispy.
- Uncover the pot and stir in the tofu, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, tomatoes, broccoli and carrots. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Ladle the soup into individual serving bowls. Garnish with cilantro, bean sprouts and green onion, as desired. Be careful to avoid chewing the Thai chiles and lemongrass.