Simple Coconut Milk Soup with Chicken and Mushroom Recipe


Tom Kha Kai Sai Hed – coconut milk soup with chicken and mushroom.

Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant

I learned how to make Tom Kha Kai Sai Hed at the Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand.

The dish is called coconut milk soup with chicken and mushroom in English, and it was delicious! Many Thai cooks leave the lemongrass, coriander root, galangal, and kaffir lime leaf in the soup as a kind of garnish, but I prefer removing them before the soup is served.

BTW, this recipe calls for galangal, which appears to be similar to ginger, but don’t think that you can substitute one for the other. The taste is completely different.  If you can’t find fresh or even frozen galangal at the market, it’s better to leave it out.

It was one of four dishes that I learned how to make in a half-day culinary course in Royal Thai cookery at the popular cooking school.

The course included a trip to a nearby wet market to source ingredients and a gourmet lunch that the students prepared themselves in the class.

Ingredients for Soup

  • 100 grams coconut milk
  • 80 grams chicken stock
  • 60 grams chicken breast
  • 20 grams mushrooms
  • 1 piece coriander root (crushed)
  • 2 pieces shallots (crushed)
  • 1 stem lemongrass (crushed and sliced at an angle)
  • 1 inch galangal (at least  5 thinly sliced pieces)
  • 4 grams kaffir lime leaf (torn by hand into pieces)

Ingredients for Seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamarind juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • Garnishing
  • Chili oil made from Thai roasted chili paste (Nam Prik Phaow’s oil)
  • Coriander leaves


  1. Add chicken stock into a saucepan at medium heat and bring it to a boil at a medium heat
  2. Crush all herbs and add them to the boiling stock and continue boiling until an aroma develops
  3. Add coconut milk, bring to a boil; add chicken breast and mushrooms; simmer for a few minutes until chicken if halfway cooked
  4. Add seasoning and mix well
  5. Remove from heat; add lime juice; remove coriander root before serving
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl; drip some chili oil from the Thai roasted Chili Paste on the surface and garnish with coriander leaves
  7. Serve hot

Want to Know More?

  • Click HERE for a detailed personal account of the course with LOTS of photos!


Blue Elephant Cooking School and Restaurant – 233 South Sathorn Road, Yannawa, Bangkok, Thailand. Tel: (66) 2-673-9353-8.