Tom kha kai or Thai coconut soup (Thai: ต้มข่าไก่, rtgs: tom kha kai, pronounced [tôm kʰàː kàj]; Lao: ຕົ້ມຂ່າໄກ່,tom kha kai, pronounced [tôm.kʰāː.kāj]), literally “chicken galangal soup”) is a spicy and sour hot soup with coconut milk in Thai cuisine and Lao cuisine.
In Thailand, most tom kha kai recipes typically include coconut milk, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, Thai chili peppers,coriander (or dill weed), straw mushrooms (or shiitake or other mushrooms), chicken, fish sauce, and lime juice. Fried chilies are sometimes added.
In a Thai-style tom kha kai, dill weed is not used, whereas in a Lao-style tom kha kai, dill weed (phak si, Lao: ຜັກຊີ) is used. Dill weed is a common herb which is used in Lao cuisine. The Thais’ answer to dill weed (known in Thailand as phak chi Lao (Thai: ผักชีลาว), since it is known locally as a Lao herb) in Thai tom kha is coriander or cilantro (phak chi, Thai: ผักชี).
There are other versions of tom kha kai made with seafood (tom kha thale, Thai: ต้มข่าทะเล), mushrooms (tom kha het, Thai: ต้มข่าเห็ด), pork (tom kha mu, Thai: ต้มข่าหมู) and tofu (tom kha taohu, Thai: ต้มข่าเต้าหู้).
Possibly the world’s most refreshing soup, tom kaa gai (boiled galangal chicken) combines coconut milk with lemongrass, galangal ‘ ginger’s Asian sister ‘ and chicken. It’s a sweet, tame twist on tom yam goong. On a table filled with delectable Thai dishes, tom kaa gai stands out; your spoon will return to this bowl time and again.