I find myself craving for Thai Coconut soup (Tom Kha) every once in a while. If you follow me on Facebook, you might know that I am a sucker for soups and I also crave for Sweet Corn soup. And Wanton Soup. And Manchow soup. And… forget it guys. Let’s face it. I am a sucker for soups. Listing names like this is doing me no good. I might just abandon my recipe writing and dash into the kitchen to make myself some soup! Especially, now, that I have shortcut method to Thai coconut soup and I have a can of coconut milk on hand almost always.

Thai Coconut Soup

If you go through the actual ingredient list for this soup, it would go something like this. I went shopping with the list and here’s what happened. Next to each ingredient is my response:

  1. Galangal a.k.a Thai ginger – What?! Where do I find this? The supermarket guys looked at me like I was crazy.
  2. Lemon grass – Fresh lemon grass? I honestly wanted to use the freshest of ingredients and hunted for it with no avail.
  3. Fish Sauce – Er… No way! Not looking for it.
  4. Basil – I have seen fresh basil in the produce section. Where is it when you need it??
  5. Thai Chili paste – I have too many varieties of chilies at home! Never mind. Ill manage without it.
  6. Coconut milk – YAY! I have it. I have it J

As I walked away disappointed, I found this:

Tom Kha

Gourmet Garden’s Lemongrass paste.  (If you cannot find this either, I have another alternative. Read ahead).

So my list above got modified into:

  1. Ginger
  2. Lemongrass paste (if you are not as lucky as me to have found ONE ingredient from the list, substitute with paste made with 1 tbsp lemon juice + 1 tbsp celery + 1 tbsp cilantro and lemon zest of half lemon)
  3. Thai Red curry paste (the ingredients say Basil and Thai chilies – 2 birds, 1 stone :P)
  4. Cilantro (for the earthy herb flavor)
  5. Coconut milk

Does this qualify for a shortcut or what?! Don’t worry guys. I have adopted a shortcut method but there is absolutely NO COMPROMISE with the taste. I would not do a blasphemous thing such as compromising with the taste of Thai Coconut Soup because

a)      I love Thai Coconut soup, Tom kha

b)      I love coconut

c)      This was the first ever dish that made my I-hate-coconut husband warm his heart to well prepared (I quote, “Well Prepared”) food with coconut flavors.

Thai Coconut Soup

So, in short, if the flavors did not match the best Tom kha I have eaten, I would not have served it to Nachiket. I can’t take chances with my darling coconut! What if he goes into the I-hate-coconut phase because of one bad recipe! 😀

Trust me and try this short cut recipe for

Thai Coconut Soup


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2



  • 2 tbsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 tbsp Thai Red Curry paste
  • 3-4 slices of ginger
  • 1/2 Portobello mushrooms (You could use shitake; I’m not a fan of shitake)
  • 1/2 cup sliced tofu
  • 1/4 cup julienned red peppers
  • Few sprigs of cilantro (or basil)
  • 5.5 Oz (160 ml) Coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a pot.
  2. Make sure that the slices of ginger you are using are big enough to pick them out once the soup is ready. Pound on the ginger slices once just enough to release the juices into the oil.
  3. Add the ginger slices, lemongrass paste into the oil. After about a min, add half the cilantro springs and the red curry paste. Mix well.
  4. Add the red bell peppers and mushrooms. Sauté for about a min, add salt and the vegetable stock.
  5. Mix well. Once the stock begins to boil, add the tofu slices.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, add the coconut milk.
  7. Do not let it boil or the coconut milk could curdle. Stir and heat on low heat until the coconut milk warms up and blends well with the stock.
  8. Garnish with the remaining cilantro and serve.

My Take:

If you like your soup to be thicker in consistency to be thicker, add only 1 cup vegetable stock and 1 and 1/2 times coconut milk. Having said that, this soup tastes better thinner.

Yummily Yours'


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  1. This is one of my favourite soups, I’m a sucker for soup too.:) Thanks for sharing it looks delicious.

  2. This looks super delicious and I’m definitely putting it into my to-cook list! I had the soup in Thai restaurant before but didn’t find a recipe that is this easy. Just pinned and shared. 🙂
    One question, may I use dried lemongrass to replace lemongrass paste?

    • Hey Maggie!
      Thank you 🙂
      Absolutely! I have not used dried lemongrass myself but I am sure you can use it. I read that they are not as potent in flavor as the fresh ones. Be liberal while using them and boil them along with the stock. Lots of moisture required to extract flavor from the dried ones.

  3. Thanks for the answer! This is very useful information. No wonder I cannot taste the flavor of lemongrass when I used dry ones in the stir-fry. It’s quite difficult to get fresh ones here, but I will buy some lemongrass powder to try out. 🙂
    Have a nice week!

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  5. Hi, I LOVE soups, and I LOVE Thai coconut soup, so thanks! 🙂 I’d like to try it with fresh lemongrass (paste and dry are more difficult to find where I live). How much should I use? Thanks. Your blog is awesome. Sonia

    • Hi Sonia, You are so lucky that you get fresh lemongrass easily available! I envy you. Just cut up 2-3 stocks(big pieces), crush them with a bang from the back of your knife to release the juices and throw and use them in place of the paste. However, remove them out before serving because they can be quite woody and tough to chew. You enjoy the soup, gal! 🙂

  6. I absolutely loved reading your responses more than anything else 😉 But yes, bookmarked it to try out soon!!!

  7. This is one of my favs!!!!!! I just love it!! your recipe is simple for sure! thanks and loved your recipes….

  8. Thank you very much for your recipe! It was really super delicious and easy to make!
    I followed your recipe almost entirely, the only changes I made were to use only one tsp of lemon grass paste, as my paste was really firm and concentrated, I sprinkled the soup with some green onions instead of cilantro and I put in some freshly squeezed lime juice at the end and served it with rice.

  9. Love this soup… Thanks for sharing…ps the wish list for all spice berries FYI. It is more easily found in Spanish & West Indian market places under the name pimiento/pimento seeds.

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