Dairy-free Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

This Thai Coconut Chicken Soup is a great one-pot meal that's super comforting and healthy, but also special diet friendly. It's paleo, gluten-free, and dairy-free too.

thai chicken soup in a white and blue bowl with spoons

Many families have a go-to soup recipe. The go-to recipe in our home is Tom Kha Gai or Thai Coconut Chicken Soup.

Not only is this thai chicken soup absolutely delicious, but it can be made very quickly and there is really no special skill required to make it. There are no fancy kitchen tools needed, nor any whisking or pureeing of any sort. It’s just a dump-it-in-and-cook-it type of recipe.

When I am short on time, this is precisely my kind of cooking. If you are a fan of Thai food (like this Chicken Thigh Curry) or are just in the mood to try something tangy and delicious, this is a soup that does not disappoint.

This soup is also a nutritional powerhouse. My version varies from the traditional because I use a nourishing homemade bone broth for the base.

It is also infused with galangal and lemongrass. Galangal is a wonderfully pungent rhizome related to ginger family. Lemongrass is fragrant and lends a tangy flavor. They both have amazing benefits!

In fact, I want to say that this soup has contributed to our family being cold-free for some time now.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Health Benefits of Ingredients in this Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Benefits of Galangal

  • Helps relieve stomach discomfort due to inflammation (Source)
  • Promotes Blood Circulation (Source)
  • Helps relieve diarrhea (Source)
  • Helps reduce free radicals (Source)
  • Increases sperm motility (Source)

Benefits of Lemongrass

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Analgesic (Source)
  • Helps body maintain healthy blood sugar levels (Source)
  • Promotes blood circulation (Source)
  • Good source of antioxidants and flavonoids
  • Diuretic properties
  • Gentle detoxifier (Source)
  • Help support body to heal respiratory disorders (Source)
  • Might lower cholesterol (Source)

My husband and I are currently doing a candida cleanse and this soup is one that we can have with little modification.

Let’s get cooking!

thai chicken soup in a white and blue bowl with spoons

Recipe Notes for Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

  • If you would like a great homemade option for coconut milk, see Easiest Homemade Coconut Milk.
  • From Adrienne: Kaffir lime leaves have a very distinct taste, so I recommend using them if you can, but if you want a cheaper substitute, try 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon lime zest, and organic lemon thyme (use either 3/32 teaspoon fresh of 1/32 teaspoon dried).
  • A possible substitute for the galangal is fresh young ginger.
  • If you would rather purchase your bone broth instead of making it, here's a great place to buy it. In a pinch use Vegetable Broth Powder. You can use chicken stock instead of bone broth.
  • Use green beans or another non-starchy vegetable instead of the peas for a low-carb option.
  • You can use the juice of one fresh lemon instead of store-bought lemon juice.

Before we get to the recipe, for more exotic dishes, you might also be interested in:

thai chicken soup in a white and blue bowl with spoons

Low-Carb Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

This Low-Carb Thai Chicken Soup is a great one-pot meal to warm you inside out this winter! It's paleo, gluten free, and dairy free too!
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo
Keyword: thai coconut soup
Servings: 6 bowls
Calories: 458kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts (use pre-cooked chicken to save time)
  • 1000 ml coconut milk (or 4 cups)
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves (these can be dried or fresh. See Recipes Notes for substitution)
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass (or 5 grams) (freshly cut)
  • 1-2 inches fresh galangal (or to taste) (cut into thin slices)
  • 2-3 cups homemade bone broth
  • 1 tablespoon quality fish sauce (or 15 ml)
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • fresh cilantro (for garnish)
  • 1 cup mushrooms (fresh sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • red chili pepper paste (or fresh chili pepper - optional)
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions

  • Bring the bone broth in the pot to medium heat.
  • Add the fresh galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
  • While the broth is cooking, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and then add to the broth.
  • Add the fish sauce and mushrooms. Add the coconut milk. Cut the large red pepper into strips and add to the soup.
  • Stir all of the ingredients together.
  • Cook medium to medium-low for 15-20 minutes checking periodically that the soup doesn’t boil over.
  • Check the soup for taste. Add salt if needed.
  • After the soup has cooked 15-20 minutes, add the frozen peas. Stir together.
  • Ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with fresh cilantro and chili paste to taste. This soup is traditionally paired with white rice, but you can opt for something grain-free like cauliflower rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 32g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 377mg | Potassium: 823mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 829IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 6mg | Net Carbs: 9g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

This recipe is so easy to modify. There are times that I simply dump in our leftover vegetables and add them to the soup with great success! I’ve found eggplant is particularly yummy.

Enjoy!

Have you ever had lemongrass or galangal?
What is your favorite soup?

Susan Brownfield

Susan from The Natural Singer is a classically trained singer currently living in Switzerland with her family. She is passionate about all things related to health and wellness. An avid home cook, Susan loves to experiment with dishes from all over the world. She's a homesteader in the making who finds herself in the city at the moment, but dreams of having a plot of land someday where she can put her hands in the soil and plant to her heart's contents.

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13 Comments

  1. This looks good, Adrienne! I also have my go to leftover soup like this with coconut and ginger. Do you grow your own lemongrass?

    1. Thanks! I don't grow many things, sadly. I don't have a green thumb but I'm open to any tips. I haven't used it that much either so wonder if I would use it a lot--do you?

    1. I don't have them at the moment. Hoping to in the future. Please take the ingredients you will use and plug them in to an online calculator - thanks again!

  2. This looks good, but you have so many unusual ingredients which make it not very frugal. I do have dried galangal, but the kafir lime leaves...???
    Fish sauce is VERY spendy, and not many stores have fresh lemongrass, but I did find some the other day for a drink recipe I love.
    This won’t be a staple at my house just because of all the unusual, hard to find and spendy ingredients, but maybe someday, when I am able to find all these things I’ll give it a try.

    1. Hello Carol and thanks for commenting. I agree that the recipe looks fabulous. I appreciate your concerns and ended up doing some research and have updated the post with some substitution ideas. I hope this helps and that you can try it soon!

    2. The fish sauce listed is $5.49. While that's not the most expensive sauce I've ever seen, I will say that the fish sauce will last a very long time. It's very concentrated and it's 1tbs that is all that's required for this particular recipe. Most recipes don't require a lot of fish sauce if you cook a lot of southeast Asian cuisine. Kaffir lime leaves are not a deal breaker. You can use them to get the full flavor, but it's also delicious without. For what it's worth, I've had a bag of dried kaffir leaves for literally 5 years and it's still not empty! That's how long it's lasted me because you only use a few for each dish. Admittedly, there is an initial investment, but if you like to try cooking different cuisines, it is much less expensive over the long term. Cooking is supposed to be fun and experimental. I substitute things all the time! I'm half-Asian, grew up eating Asian food so I know my way around an Asian store. If you are lucky to have Asian stores in your city or neighborhood, you will find the prices are much lower than in a regular grocery store. I hope this helps!

      1. Very helpful, Susan. I figured that bag of leaves would last a long time. I'm going to get some and try this for sure and I have fish sauce here already that I am looking forward to using.

      2. You can buy ground frozen lemongrass at Asian markets for $2-3 for 8 oz. lasts a long time. They also sell galanga root and kifir lime leaves by the pound or oz. Not very expensive at all and their prices on fish sauce vary from $1.98 for a small bottle to more for LARGE bottles. Refrigerated, along with all the salt in the contests it lasts for a LONG time. It is simply a matter of finding the right market. I find prices for shallots, basil and other fresh greens at a neighborhood Asian market to also be very reasonable. Not the case at a regular supermarket for same ingredients IF they even have them!

    3. Are used one half of a cup of lime juice I leave out the lemongrass if I have to you can usually find it at a farmers market though. I use or sister sauce and it adds awesome flavor