Tom Kha (Thai Coconut Soup)

August 17, 2023

Tom Kha is a wonderfully delectable coconut soup, filled with wonder and delight. Tom Kha is a very basic soup made with coconut milk, lemongrass, galangal, kefir lime leaves, lime juice, and cilantro. This soup is great on a cold rainy day (this week has been chilly and wet), and galangal helps fight inflammation and is often used as a cure for colds—luckily I don’t have one, but good to keep in mind as flu season is coming up!


Tom Kha (Thai Coconut Soup)


2 cans coconut milk


70 grams galangal, sliced (it looks like ginger and you can get it at Asian markets, and it’s pretty hard to cut up so be prepared for battle)

3 stalks lemongrass, sliced OR 4 tbsp frozen lemongrass

10 kefir lime leaves, cut in half (substitute the rind of a few limes if you can’t find it, it wont taste the same but it’s still good!)

5–10 thai chilies, chopped

1 white onion, roughly chopped

3 tomatoes, halved and then sliced

8 oz mushrooms, cut into fourths

3.5 cups steamed broccoli

handful cilantro

juice of ~2 limes

3 green onions

salt, to taste


1. Pour one can of coconut milk into a large pot, then fill the can with water and pour into the pot as well. Add the galangal and lemongrass and turn the heat up to medium high.  Stir gently, as coconut milk is quite delicate.

2. Once the mixture is about to boil, turn the heat to medium low and add in the other half of the coconut milk, this time adding a can and a half of water. Mix and then add in the chilies, mushrooms, onions, and stir gently. Put a lid on the pot and check every few minutes to make sure it does not come to a boil. Stir occasionally.

3. Once again when the mixture is about ready to boil, add the tomatoes, lime leaves (take a whiff of them first–heavenly!), and some salt.

4. Once the mushrooms are cooked, take the pot off the heat and add the steamed broccoli, lime juice (a little at a time to suit your tastes), cilantro, and green onions. You can add more salt as well in order to get the right balance of flavor.

A little trick for juicing limes:

Cut the limes into thirds, then cut the middle part into thirds. You will be able to get all the juice out of the lime!

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5. Serve over rice and try not to die of happiness!


A word to the wise: the galangal and lime leaves are there for flavoring purposes only. If you do not want an extremely strong floral flavor in your mouth, do not eat the galangal! Technically you can eat the lime leaves but they do nothing for me texturally.

Also see: Comforting Vegan Coconut Carrot Soup

Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Tahini Cream

Also by Jessica: Benefits of Sweet Potato – plus Ethiopian Wat Recipe!

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Photo: Jessica Ferguson

Jessica Ferguson
Jessi is an American expat living in India with her husband, child, and animal companions. She has been vegan for close to a decade and cares for sick and injured freely roaming animals with her husband. If she's not chasing after dogs or a toddler, Jessi can usually be found snuggling local cows, doing yoga, or meditating. For glow-ups of cute free roaming animals, check out @Karunya4animals on twitter!


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