Tom Kai Gai- Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup

Tom Kai Gai- Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup

For me, giving up soy has been the most difficult food to give up during Whole 30. I am half Vietnamese, so I am used to eating foods with a fair amount of soy. I was surprised that rice was not more difficult to give up, but so far that hasn’t been a problem. I enjoy all types of Asian food but it is difficult to find Whole 30 compliant dishes that aren’t full of soy and sugar. I’m on a mission to make some delicious, compliant Asian dishes. I started with Tom Kha Gai- a delicious sour, spicy, coconut-filled soup with chicken and veggies. It is delicious and I think you are really going to love this recipe.

Whole 30 Compliant Tom Kha Gai
2 stalks of lemongrass outer leaves removed, smashed, and cut into ¼ inch pieces
10 kaffir lime leaves
1” piece of ginger peeled and cut into 4 chunks
2 Thai chilies- each cut in half
6 cups compliant chicken broth
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
1 pound of shiitake mushrooms stemmed and caps cut into bite sized pieces
1-13.5 ounce can of full fat coconut milk
2-3 Tablespoons of compliant fish sauce – Red Boat is a great brand

2-3 cups bean sprouts
A handful of Thai Basil Leaves cut into smaller pieces
2-3 Thai chilies cut into slices- optional if you like it spicy
2 scallions cut into small pieces
1 large tomato cut into bite sized chunks
1 lime cut into wedges

Kitchen equipment needed:
4 quart sauce pot or soup pot
Fine mesh strainer
Large bowl

  1. Start by preparing the lemongrass and ginger as described above in ingredients list.
  2. Place chicken broth, lemongrass, ginger, the two sliced Thai chilies, and the Kaffir lime leaves in sauce pot and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Once simmering, let the flavors combine for approximately 20 minutes.
  3. While the broth is simmering, cut the mushrooms and chicken into pieces. Also, wash the bean sprouts, chilies, scallions and prepare the garnishes as listed above.
  4. After the simmering period of 20 minutes strain the contents of the pot into a large bowl with the use of the fine mesh strainer to catch the lemongrass, chilies, and lime leaves. Discard the contents of the strainer and return the broth to the pot. Once again bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat.
  5. Add in the chicken and mushrooms and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (meat thermometer should read 165 degrees F) and the mushrooms are tender.
  6. Add in the can of coconut milk and stir well.
  7. Mix in 2 Tablespoons fish sauce and taste the broth. I added an additional Tablespoon of fish sauce because I felt it needed more. I like a good amount of fish sauce.
  8. Dish the soup into bowls and garnish with a handful of bean sprouts, Thai basil, scallions, a few pieces of Thai chili, lime wedges and a few chunks of tomato.

I absolutely loved this soup and I hope you enjoy it as well. I’ve eaten Tom Kha Gai at Thai restaurants and I felt that this recipe comes very close to what I have had there. I hope to have more compliant Asian recipes coming soon. Have any suggestions of what I should try next? Comment below with your ideas.

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