Tom Kaa Gai – Thai Coconut Soup Recipe

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While in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we had the opportunity to attend the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School situated on an organic farm. We started by touring the local market. Tables upon tables were lined with fresh produce from local farms, huge buckets of so many types of rice, homemade curry pastes, and street food being cooked up hot and fresh. We learned about the differences in the various types of rice and how that impacts your cooking. Tip: Make sure you always rinse your rice three times!

After spending time noshing on some of the local dishes, we took a one hour drive to the farm. The Thai cooking school was located next to a serene pond nestled next to rows to fresh veggies and Thai herbs. Jay, our teacher, walked us through the gardens, introducing us to some native ingredients. Finally, it was time to get cooking. Our experience started with us learning how to make curry paste… the old fashioned way. We used a stone mortar and pestle to smash together of ingredients, careful not to get any of those hot Thai chili peppers in our eye.

Once we started cooking, it felt like we were eating non-stop. We learned how to make Tom Kaa Gai and Tom Yam Kung soups, fried summer rolls, a green and yellow curry, cashew stir fry, and mango sticky rice. We are so grateful the school shared the recipes with us so that we can share them with you! This recipe uses chicken in the soup, but feel free to swap it for another protein. We also loved shrimp in this soup, just add the raw shrimp in the final few minutes to ensure you don’t overcook the seafood.

This was part of Karen’s journey as the Chang Beer Ambassador. Naturally, we brought a few bottles of beer. It didn’t take long for us to start sharing our brews with the others in the cooking class and we were running to get more beer in no time. I guess you can say Chang’s motto of “We Brew Friendship” held true! The light and crisp flavors of the beer were a perfect accompaniment to the spicy Thai flavors.

Thai Coconut Soup (Tom Kaa Gai) Recipe, from the Chiang Mai Thai Farm Cooking School Recipe Book


  • 100 grams of sliced chicken

  • 1 cup of coconut milk

  • ½ cup of water

  • ¼ cup of sliced galangal (looks similar to ginger, find it at your Asian grocer, fresh or frozen)

  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, sliced in to 1 inch pieces

  • ¼ cup sliced tomatoes

  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms

  • 1-5 crushed Thai chili peppers, depending on your spice preference

  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves

  • 1 chopped green onion

  • 1 stem cilantro, chopped

  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice

  • 1 tbsp of fish or soy sauce

  • ½ tsp of sugar

  • 2 chopped shallots

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Start by searing the raw chicken pieces. Once no longer pink, remove from heat. Make a broth by putting water in a saucepan and adding lemongrass, galangal, shallots, tomatoes and mushrooms. Heat until boiling. Add coconut milk, chicken and Thai chili peppers. Season with fish sauce, sugar and salt. Stir thoroughly. When chicken is done add coriander, kaffir lime leaves and spring onion. Lastly, add lime juice. The taste should be creamy, salty, and a little sour.

We know you’ll love this recipe! Enjoy it while learning more about Asian cuisine in our other travel guides!

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