Tom Kha [Gai & Goong]

Makes about 12 cups, or 2 Me-Size servings (lol u chonky fuck).

As always, RTFM before gathering ingredients.


  • ~ 2 lbs. protein
    • Chicken breast sliced thin (Gai)
    • Shrimp (medium) peeled and defrosted (Goong)
  • 4-5 stalks lemongrass, split lengthwise, whites only (is that racist?), cut into 2 inch long pieces and (Hulk!) smashed with a mallet (Thor!)
  • 4-inch long section fresh galangal (or ginger) root thinly sliced
  • 20 fresh kaffir lime leaves crushed in your hand* (or zest of 2 limes)
  • 2-3 cups fresh coriander stems & leaves (aka cilantro) plus 1C leaves for garnish
  • 4 cups Broth
    • Gai: Chicken Bone Broth (buy it, unless you want to spend 8+ hrs on this alone)
    • Gong/ Shrimp and/or Tofu : vegetable broth
  • ~ 4 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut palm (or brown) sugar
  • 6 oz. (pint box) small mushroom heads (white button are most common in US)
  • Soy sauce, to taste
  • 1-2 Thai chilis, cut in half, to taste (if using Serrano chilis use 2 Serrano for 1 Thai)
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 3 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • Juice of 3 limes plus more for garnish
  • Chili oil
  • Optional Additions
    • 1 carrot, julienned
    • 3 shallots sliced thin
    • Red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • Garnishes
    • Coriander leaves
    • Chili oil
    • Lime wedges
    • Grape tomatoes, quartered lengthwise
    • Spring onions, thin-sliced on-bias
    • Thai chilis, thin-sliced on-bias


  • Wash/Clean & prep all ingredients
  • Wipe mushrooms with a dry cloth (do not get them wet)
  • Add broth, water, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and cilantro to the pot.
  • Simmer on med-high heat for 10 minutes, then strain out the herbs using a fine mesh sieve and discard.
    • Or use some cheesecloth as a bouquet garni.
  • Lower the heat to simmering and add coconut sugar. Stir to dissolve.
  • Add chicken or shrimp and Optional Additions and simmer for 5 min
  • Stir in soy sauce, Thai chilis and cover the pot for 10 more minutes.
  • Turn heat off and add fish sauce, coconut milk, and the lime juice.
  • Serve immediately with garnishes

“This coconut-curry soup, and Massaman curry (coming soon) are my favorite Thai dishes. They’re like a warm hug from a sassy Thai grandma who also gives your cheek a pinch (you get to decide which kind of cheek).”

Love, Jimi

Notes & Recommendations

  • Use caution with Thai/Vietnamese chilis, they pack a punch and make the broth hotter over time. They can easily overpower the nuance of the dish.
  • *Kaffir lime leaves have small sharp thorns, be careful, they will cut a bitch.
  • Fish Sauce: XO or Red Boat brands
  • Bone Broth: Kitchen Basics or Pacific (unsalted)
  • You’ll notice this all comes out darker than typical restaurant-style tom kha, that’s because most restaurants don’t use bone broth due to expense and the necessity to keep the broth adaptable for vegetarian and pescatarian versions. Higher quality fish sauces also tend to be darker.
  • Lemongrass paste can be found (in produce section) at most mainstream grocery stores. Use about 1Tb for 2 stalks. Same goes for Ginger paste (no it won’t be The Same, but pretty close)
  • The broth freezes well, but mushrooms don’t. Add as needed.
  • Carrot: buy the damned julienne-peeler. OXO makes one, I’ve been using mine for nearly 15 years.

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