Chicken Soup with Galangal (Kai Tom Kha)
Cuisine: Thai
Author: Kitchens
Traditionally, the chilies used are known as Piri Piri, or Thai chilies. They are spicy.
  • 2 stalks lemon grass
  • 1 Cup water
  • 4 Cups coconut milk
  • 8 chicken thighs or,
  • 1 1/3 pounds chicken breast, diced
  • 10 slices galangal
  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 small fresh chilies
  • 3 bergamot leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • spring onions, shredded
  • chilies, shredded
  1. This one's a bit more complex and gets into some exotic ingredients.
  2. All of them should be available from an Asian grocery. If you have any questions about what the ingredients are or how to use them, just ask. The only thing that can not be substituted for is the fish sauce. You could use ginger instead of galangal, but the soup would lack the perfumed, exotic aroma of the galangal that adds so much to the dish.
  3. Lime zest could be used for the bergamot leaves.
  4. Cut the lemon grass into 1-inch pieces. Bring the water to the boil with half the coconut milk. Then add the chicken, lemon grass, galangal and 1 Tablespoon fish sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Less cooking time will be required for diced chicken breast.
  5. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and turn up the heat. As soon as it begins to boil, toss in the whole chilies and bergamot leaves. Stir, and remove from the heat.
  6. Serve in individual bowls.
  7. Sprinkle each with lemon juice and fish sauce to taste and garnish with slivers of spring onions and chili.
If you cannot find Galangal, use fresh ginger.

From "Discover Thai Cooking" by Chaslin, Canungmai and Tettoni, Times Editions, Singapore.
Recipe by Recipes at