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After Easter Detox with Thai Coconut Chicken Soup (Tom Kah Kai)

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Well, I think the title of this post says it all. Since the first of the year, I’ve been exercising like crazy, eating right and not a pound is budging, so I decided to do one of those 21 day detox cleanse things right after Easter to change things up. It had to be after Easter, of course, so I could devour all the lemon pie, tunnel of fudge cake and strawberry rhubarb galette I wanted without guilt.

I’m on day 15 of Dr. Junger’s “clean” detox. Ugh.

Here are the forbidden: coffee, soda, alcohol, sugar, gluten, dairy, beef, pork, soy, whey protein, peanuts, corn oil. Essentially, everything good in life.

Here are the unforbidden:  vegetables, brown rice, non-gluten grains, chicken, seafood, stevia, herbal tea, coconut milk, coconut oil, berries and fruit, apple cider vinegar, beans and lentils, plant based protein powder.

So, what’s a girl to do with such a limited palette of food? Make and eat lots of Thai Chicken Coconut Soup; the Lieutenant loves it as do the Wilson progeny. I have two recipes I’ve used in the past, so I decided to do a Thai Chicken Coconut Soup cook-off with the kids to see which they liked the best. Really, they are both very easy, but one is much easier. I picked up some of the more exotic ingredients at my local Asian grocery store. I didn’t use straw mushrooms because the Asian market had these nice looking brown beech mushrooms; I highly recommend them – even the kids liked them. FYI,  Galangal is a type of Thai ginger that comes sliced and dried in packages- I found it in the dried vegetable section.  Also, I used “light” coconut milk in each recipe.

Initially, both children said they like the more complex Thai Chicken Coconut Soup. I liked that the chicken was very silky tasting from being dipped in the cornstarch in this soup. Then they both changed their minds and said they liked the easy version (you may want to double the recipe). So, either version is a winner. Happy slurping!

More Complex Chicken Coconut Soup (Tom Kah Gai)

adapted from Delightful Thai Cooking by Eng Tie Ang


  • 2 T. vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 T. green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, cut into 2 inch lengths
  • 1 t. ground black pepper
  • 1 t. red curry paste
  • 2 green chiles, finely chopped (I omitted)
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 inch piece dried galangal
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, finely sliced
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk (I use light)
  • 1 can (15 oz) straw mushrooms, drained
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/8 cup fresh lime juiced
  • 6 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T. cornstarch

Cooking Directions:

  1. In medium size pot, stir fry the garlic, green onion, lemon grass, pepper, curry paste, chiles, kaffir leaves and galangal in oil for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  3. Coat the sliced chicken with cornstarch and add to the soup and cook for 4 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk, mushrooms, fish sauce, lime juice and simmer for 2 more minutes.
  5. Garnish with the fresh cilantro.

Easy Coconut Chicken Soup

Adapted from Thai Cooking Made Easy by Sukhum Kittivech


  • 1/3 lb. boneless chicken, cut into strips
  • 20 canned straw mushrooms
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk (I use light)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lemon grass stalk, cut into 1
  • 4 kaffir leaves
  • 4 galanga pieces
  • 6 chilies (I omitted)
  • 2 T. fish sauce
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • 1 T. chopped green onion
  • cilantro to garnish

Cooking Directions:

  1. Bring coconut milk, water, lemon grass, kaffir leaves, galanga and chilies to boil in pan.
  2. Add chicken, mushrooms, fish sauce and lime juice; cook until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Sprinkle with cilantro.
  4. Yum!


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