My Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)

Tom Kha Gai_a little bit of soy

When I eat out and find something tasty, I always think how I can recreate it at home using easily accessible ingredients.

Tom Kha Gai was one of the dishes. I always loved this spicy and creamy Thai Chicken Coconut Soup and wanted to make it at home. The problem was galangal and lemongrass, which are not really common here in Australia. I tried a few attempts using common ingredients, which were “Good”, not “Delicious”.

And, a couple weeks ago, I suddenly made the “Delicious” version of Tom Kha! I seriously do not know what happened, but it came out really GREAT!

In this recipe, I use lemon rind and ginger instead of lemongrass and galangal.

This Tom Kha Gai has a lot of veggies, so that a bowl of this soup becomes a complete meal.

Hope you enjoy this super easy Tom Kha Gai.


Ingredients (Serving 4):

For Chicken:

1 Chicken Breast – cut into chunks

1 teaspoon of Cooking Sake (or White wine)

2 teaspoons of Fish Sauce

A pinch of Sea Salt

For Broth

900ml Water

50ml Cooking Sake (or White wine)

1 Lemon and the Rind

1 leaf of Kaffir Lime

15g of Ginger – peeled and cut into julienne

2 cloves of Garlic – finely chopped

1 bird’s eye chili-  finely sliced (remove seeds if you prefer not hot)

A pinch of Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce

270ml good quality Coconut Cream

5 leaves of Basil – sliced

For Vegetables – any veggies left in the fridge will be fine! These are what I used;

1 Onion – sliced

6 Mushrooms – cut into 4

100g Green Beans

8 Okra – trim the head and cut lengthwise into half

1/2 Red Capsicum – cut into strips

6 Brussel Sprouts – cut into half

250g Beansprouts


  1. In a small bowl, marinade chicken breast with cooking sake, fish sauce and a pinch of sea salt for about 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, place water, cooking sake, lemon rind, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, garlic and chili. Bring it to boil. Reduce the heat once it is boiled and simmer it for 20 minutes to make the broth fragrant.
  3. Add the marinaded chicken (Method 1) including the liquid into the pot. Cook it for 5 minutes.
  4. Add all vegetables (except beansprout) into the pot and a pinch of sea salt. Cook it for about 10 minutes or until the brussel sprouts are cooked.
  5. Remove the lemon rind, kaffir lime leaves. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce, coconut cream and basil leaves. Squeeze 1/4 of lemon and simmer it for another 5 minutes.
  6. Place 1/4 beansprouts in each serving bowl. Pour the Tom Kha Gai over the the beansprouts. Serve while hot with lemon wedges.





Japanese Sesame Dressing


You might feel “strange” or even “modern” when you hear that I use a well-know Middle Eastern food – Tahini in Japanese cooking.

In fact, roasted sesame seed paste is called “Neri Goma” and is commonly used in Japan. Apparently Neri Goma has a nuttier flavour than Tahini as sesame seeds for Neri Goma are roasted longer than for Tahini…. Well.., from my point of view (taste), they taste pretty much the same.

We often use Neri Goma to make Sesame Dressing. This dressing is very versatile and matches with both vegetables and most meats proteins (beef, chicken, pork and tofu). It can also be used as a dipping sauce for Japanese Hot Pot (Nabe). The bonus of my recipe is the measurement – very easy to remember!

Middle East and Japan might be far away, but I like the fact we enjoy the same food in spite of the distance.



1 Tablespoon of Tahini (hulled)

1 glove of Garlic – minced

1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of White Vinegar

1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon of Dark Sugar

½ Teaspoon of Sesame Oil


Place tahini in a bowl. Using a whisk, stir all other ingredients one by one into the tahini. Mix them very well until the dressing becomes smooth.

Pianlu Style Hot Pot – Chinese Style Nabe with my adaptation


Serving: 4



30g of Dried Shiitake Mushroom

500cc of warm Water to reconstitute Dried Shiitake Mushroom

15cm x 10cm of Dried Kelp

1000cc Water

1 clove of Garlic – minced

2cm square cube of Ginger – minced

2 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

4 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil


300g of Chicken Breast – cut into 2cm cubes

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

A Pinch of Salt

6 slices of short cut Bacon – Each Bacon to be trimmed and cut into 4

Vegetables and Tofu

1 leak – chop the hard green part off and the rest to be sliced into 1cm thick with angle

3 branches of Bok Choy – divide into a green leaf part and a harder white part

200g Pumpkin – sliced into 1cm thick

150g Bean Sprout

1 Carrot – sliced into 0.5cm thick with angle

1 Onion – sliced into 0.5cm thick

150g of Silken Tofu – cut into 16 pieces


1 clove of Garlic – minced

2cm square cube of Ginger – minced

½ Teaspoon of Salt

2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

2 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce


2 Spring Onions – finely chopped


  1. Preparation for Broth. Put 1000cc of water in a Nabe Pot (or clay pot, or deep casserole pot). Place Dried Kelp in the water and soak it for about 30 minutes. At the same time, reconstitute Dried Shiitake Mushrooms in 500cc warm water by soaking for about 10 minutes, or until they become soft. Once Shiitake Mushrooms are soft, remove the stems and slice them in half. Keep the soaking liquid.
  1. Add the Shiitake’s Soaking Liquid, Garlic, Ginger, Cooking Sake and the hard green part of Leak in the pot and bring it to boil. Once the water is boiled, remove the Kelp and Leak. Reduce the heat to medium.
  1. Marinade Chicken Breast with Soy Sauce, Cooking Sake and Salt. Rest the Chicken in the fridge until it is used.
  1. Once the broth is ready, add Shiitake, Leak, a hard part of Bok Choy, Onion and 2 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil. Put a lid on and add continue cooking until the Bok Choy becomes soft.
  1. Add Pumpkin, Carrot, Chicken (with the marinade liquid) and Tofu. Put a lid on and continue cooking until Pumpkin becomes soft.
  1. Put Bean Sprout and the Bok Choy leaves on top and add 2 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil. Put a lid back on and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  1. While it is cooking, make Sauce by mixing all ingredients of Sauce.
  1. When you eat, put a small amount of Sauce in your serving bowl first and add the Nabe’s ingredients and soup in it. I would recommend 1/3 teaspoon of Sauce to 1.5 ladle of Soup, but it is totally up to you. Start from a small amount of sauce and add more if you like. Put some chopped Spring Onions on top when you eat.


Chicken Meatball Hot Pot – Tori Dango Nabe


Serving: 4



1500cc of Water

10cm x 3cm of Dried Kelp

A small piece of Ginger – minced

1 1/2 Tablespoon of Chicken Stock

1 Tablespoon of Cooking Sake

1/2 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1/2 Tablespoon of Mirin

Chicken Meatballs

200g Chicken Mince

2 Flat Mushrooms – minced

1 Lear part of Celery – finely chopped

1 Egg

1 Glove of Garlic – minced

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

½ Tablespoon of Shio Koji

3 Tablespoon of Flour

Vegetables for Hop Pot

½ Cabbage or Chinese cabbage – cut into 6 cm long

2 Carrots – sliced with angle

2 Onions – sliced

½ Leeks

150g of Tofu – cut into 3cm cubes

More Options for Vegetables – you can put anything you want, such as…

Zucchini – sliced, Celeries – sliced with angle, Pumpkins – sliced into 0.5-1 cm thick, Spring Onions – sliced with angle, Kale – cut into a bite size


  1. Put water in Nabe Pot (clay pot or deep casserole pot). Place Dried Kelp in the water and soak it for about 30 minutes. Heat the pot and bring it to boil. Once the water is boiled, remove the Kelp. Reduce the heat to medium and add Chicken Stock, Soy Sauce, Cooking Sake and Mirin.
  2. Prepare Chicken Meatballs. Add all ingredients for meatballs in a bowl and mix them well by hand. Put it aside until the broth is ready.
  3. Once the broth is ready, put the Chicken Meatballs in the broth. Use 2 Tablespoons to make a small ball and drop it into the broth one by one. The meatballs will come up to surface once they are cooked.
  4. Once the meatballs are cooked, add Vegetables in the pot. Add Vegetables which take longer to cook first, such as a hard part of Cabbages, Carrots, Leeks and Celeries. Once these vegetables are cooked, add Tofu and softer Vegetables, Such as Onions, Zucchinis, leaf part of Cabbages.
  5. Simmer until all are cooked.