Tom Kha Gai, the famous Thai coconut soup is my favorite soup for cold and flu season. It’s not just medicinal; it’s delicious. The first time I tasted Tom Kha Gai, a friend served it to me in a large mug. I thought it was the most scrumptious beverage I’d ever had.
“What is this?” I asked in awe.
“It’s Tom Kha Gai, a Thai coconut soup,” my friend replied. “You know, it’s in that book Nourishing Traditions. Do you like it?”
“I love it! It’s like heaven on my tongue.” Ever since then, I’ve been an addict.
Hey, don’t laugh! It beats being addicted to Dr. Pepper.
Made with real bone broth and coconut milk, Tom Kha Gai is surprisingly nutrient-dense and filling for being such a creamy, flavorful, savory soup. Think Chicken Noodle Soup is the king’s bean when it comes to broth-y comfort foods ideal for colds or sore throats? Think again. The Thai coconut soup Tom Kha Gai is the champion in any match up.
Homemade broth made from the leftover carcass of a roasted chicken is not only aromatic, but surprisingly healthy. Bone broths are rich in the minerals of the bones, cartilage, and marrow that go into preparing them. The gelatin in homemade bone broths aides digestion and acts as protein sparer, allowing the body to better use the few complete proteins that are taken in. If you’re sick, the electrolytes present in homemade broth will help replenish your body’s stores and speed your recovery.
Stir in the coconut milk, which is high in the medium-chain fatty acids that quicken your metabolism, and suddenly Tom Kha Gai is a powerhouse against colds and flus. More than half the medium-chain fatty-acids found in coconut milk are lauric acid — the immune-boosting anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial so vital to human health.
Top it all off with ginger (a pain reliever), chile (an immune booster famous for clearing sinuses), and lemon juice (a liver stimulant and natural detoxing agent), and Tom Kha Gai simply can’t be beat when you’re feeling under the weather.
Tom Kha Gai: Thai Coconut Soup Recipe
Tom Kha Gai: The Players
- 1 quart chicken broth (where to buy chicken broth)
- 1 1/2 C. coconut milk (where to find BPA-free coconut milk)
- 1/4 tsp dried chile flakes
- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
- juice of 1 lemon
- sea salt (to taste)
- 1-2 C. pulled or cubed cooked chicken (optional)
- 1-2 green onions, chopped (optional)
- chopped cilantro (optional)
Tom Kha Gai: The How-To
Bring the stock to a boil, skim any foam that rises to the top and add coconut milk, lemon juice, chile flakes, ginger, and optional chicken. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Ladle into soup bowls or mugs and garnish with cilantro and green onions.
(From Sally Fallon Morell’s Nourishing Traditions, p. 198)
Yes, this Tom Kha Gai is THAT easy!
It may look exotic. It may even sound exotic with a name like Tom Kha Gai, but this Thai coconut soup is as simple, quick, and easy as they come.
And, don’t forget, it’s like heaven on your tongue.
(photo by tasteoforegon)