There may not be anything as comforting as a big bowl of tom kha. In this takeout favorite, a rich broth of lemongrass, garlic and kaffir lime leaves is mixed with coconut milk, chicken and mushrooms before being topped with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lime.
While the broth adds the big flavors of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf to the soup, we serve the traditional Thai condiment, nam pla prik, on the side to adjust seasoning and spice. It's simply equal parts fish sauce and Thai chiles; you need only a few drops, which immediately add salt, spice and a distinct fermented flavor that packs a punch.
We use canned straw mushrooms for this soup. They're commonly found in Asian markets, but feel free to substitute sliced shiitake or button mushrooms.
Check out our best chicken recipes.
Chicken Tom Kha Soup
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
For the Nam Pla Prik:
¼ cup fish sauce
10 green Thai chiles, minced
For the Broth:
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon palm sugar or dark brown sugar
5 kaffir lime leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed, inner core roughly chopped
2 red Thai bird chiles, halved
One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
For the Soup:
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup enoki mushrooms
1 cup canned straw mushrooms, halved
One 13½-ounce can coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Mint leaves, for garnish
Nam pla prik, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
1. Make the nam pla prik: In a small bowl, mix together the fish sauce with the minced chiles, then set aside until ready to serve.
2. Make the broth: In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the chicken stock, palm sugar, lime leaves, garlic, lemongrass, chiles and ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until reduced to 4 cups, 30 minutes. Strain and return to the pot.
3. Make the soup: Return the broth to a simmer and add the chicken. Cook, skimming occasionally, until the chicken is opaque, 5 minutes. Add the enoki and straw mushrooms, coconut milk and fish sauce, and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms are tender, 5 minutes. Divide between bowls and garnish with cilantro and mint leaves. Serve with the nam pla prik and lime wedges on the side.