Slow Cooker Tom Kha Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)


  • half of one onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • half of one red jalapeño pepper sliced; or a couple Thai chiles, halved
  • 3 quarter-inch-long slices galangal or ginger
  • 1 lemongrass stalk pounded with the side of a knife, cut into 2-inch-long pieces
  • 10 lime leaves torn, optional
  • 1 tablespoon red Thai curry paste
  • 4 cups chicken broth see Notes
  • 2 13.5-ounce cans full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 2 small chicken breasts approximately 1 pound, cut into bite-sized pieces; see Notes for alternatives
  • 8 ounces white mushroom caps sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar, see Notes
  • 2-3 tablespoons fish sauce plus more to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2-3 green onions thinly sliced
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Add onion, garlic, jalapeño or chile, galangal or ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves, red curry paste, and chicken broth to slow cooker. Stir to incorporate, then cover slow cooker with lid.
  2. Cook on high heat for 2 to 3 hours, or low heat for 4 to 6 hours. After cook time is up, use slotted spoon to remove all aromatics, leaving broth behind.
  3. Add in coconut cream or milk, chicken breast (or tofu or shrimp), and mushrooms. Cook on high heat 1 hour or low heat 2 hours, or until chicken breast pieces are cooked through.
  4. After cooking, add sugar, fish sauce, and lime juice. Taste and add more of each ingredient as desired. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with sliced green onions and fresh cilantro. Serve warm.

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