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Recipe for :

Tom Kha Kai - Menam Chicken Soup

This recipe has been published with the permission of the Blue Elephant Cooking School in Bangkok, Thailand. This is an example of the type of dish you can learn to cook at the School.

Located in the heart of Bangkok, the Blue Elephant Cooking School is housed in a dazzling century old mansion where you can discover and experience the culinary wonders of Royal Thai Cuisine.

The Blue Elephant Cooking School has fully equipped facilities offering you the chance to put your hand to practicing Thai Cuisine. A typical day commences with a visit to the morning market. Accompanied by your instructor, you will learn to select and buy Thai ingredients for your personal cooking lesson. Classes are followed by a meal in the delightful Blue Elephant restaurant where you sample your own cooking as well as additional Thai dishes.

The basis of this soup, a gentle combination of chicken, coconut milk and lemongrass, is given heat and intensity with green chillies and flavourings. This is a soup to be eaten Thai-style, served with the rest of the meal so that you can punctuate your enjoyment of other dishes with an occasional spoonful.


400ml / 14 fl oz / 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
400ml / 14 fl oz / 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
40g / 1 1/2oz galangal, finely sliced
1 stem lemongrass, finely sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
200g / 7 oz boneless chicken breast with skin removed, cut into thin slices
80g / 3oz mushrooms, quartered
5 green chillies, crushed
4 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp tamarind juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
sprinkling of fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp oil of Namp Prik Phao


  • Put the stock in a saucepan and add the coconut milk. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and add the galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
  • Stir for 2 minutes, then add the chicken, mushrooms and crushed chillies. Simmer for 1 minute.
  • Add the fish sauce, tamarind and lemon juices. Bring back to the boil and stir in the coriander before removing from the heat. Transfer to soup bowls and float the oil of Nam Prik Phao on the surface. Serve hot.

To make a vegetarian version of the above soup:

Tom Kha Yod Phaeng - Vegetarian Tofu Soup

Use 25g / 1 oz deep-fried tofu instead of chicken and omit the chicken stock. Add 3 1/2 tbsp light soya sauce and omit the fish sauce.

Serves 4

© Blue Elephant Cooking School