Based on a Thai soup called Tom Kha Gai, this is a hot, spicy, sweet soup made with coconut milk.


  • 1 tblsp sunflower oil
  • 25 g root galangal (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 2 lemongrass stalks (outer leaves removed and thinly sliced)
  • 4 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 large skinless chicken breast fillet (thinly sliced)
  • 400 g tin of coconut milk
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2 tsp thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 100 g shiitake mushrooms (trimmed and thinly sliced)
  • 1 tblsp fresh lime juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • coriander leaves, to garnish


  • Heat the sunflower oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and cook for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
  • Add the chicken strips to the saucepan with the coconut milk and stock, then stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer, then mix in the chilli sauce, Thai fish sauce and shiitake mushrooms.
  • Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 6–8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is completely tender and cooked through and all of the flavours have combined.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the lime juice. Ladle into warmed oriental-style bowls and garnish with coriander leaves.


Neven's note: Galangal is a rhizome from the same family as ginger and has a mild peppery flavour – it can be bought in root form and used in much the same way as root ginger. While travelling around Thailand, my wife Amelda and I tasted many versions of this, including one made with seafood (Tom Kha Talay), and a vegetarian option made with tofu (Tom Kha Tofu). You may need to visit an oriental supermarket for some of the ingredients but the results are well worth the effort.