A pantry-friendly version of Tom Kha soup (Thai coconut soup) made with coconut milk, ginger, spices, and veggies. Easy vegetarian weeknight dinner idea!
I’ll be honest, up until a few years ago, I had never before tried Tom Kha Soup (Thai coconut soup) in my life. I’d never even heard of it! At that point, the extent of my Asian cuisine experiences had been sushi, Chinese food, pad thai, and Mongolian beef at PF Changs (lol). Maybe kimchi and Korean BBQ?
A few years ago, I went to dinner with friends at a nearby Thai place. My friend ordered Tom Kha Soup and not knowing what it was, I tried it. OMG. IT WAS DELICIOUS. A little sour, yet spicy. Creamy because of the coconut milk. Flavorful from all the spices and veggies. YUM. I had wanted to remake this Tom Kha Soup ever since that day but I never got around to it.
What is Tom Kha Soup?
Traditionally, Tom Kha Soup is a Thai soup made with coconut milk, lots of spices, lemongrass, galangal root, Thai fish sauce, and Thai chili paste. It’s as delicious and flavorful as you can imagine!
Here’s the thing… for this recipe, I wanted to keep things simple for you. My idea was to create a homemade version of Tom Kha Soup that you can make on a whim on a random weeknight. A deliciously easy version made with common ingredients found in your pantry or local grocery store.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Yellow onion + garlic – The base aromatics for this dish.
- Mushrooms – I recommend using cremini mushrooms for this recipe since they have a mild flavor and won’t overpower the dish. Shitakes will also work!
- Carrots – I like to thinly shred the carrots. It adds a unique earthly, slightly sweet, flavor to the soup.
- Soy sauce – A common ingredient to use in place of fish sauce. I prefer to use low sodium soy sauce so the soup is not overly salty. You can also use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce.
- Ginger – I like to use ground ginger instead of galangal since I always have it in my pantry.
- Sugar – this helps balance all the savory flavors. You can also use coconut sugar if you prefer.
- Cayenne pepper – I like to use this in place of chili paste since I always have it in my pantry. It adds some heat to the soup.
- Lemon zest – Another easy-to-find ingredient to use in place of lemongrass which provides some fresh, brightness to the dish.
- Full-fat coconut milk – I use canned coconut milk and I love how creamy it makes this soup when combined with the vegetable broth.
- Cilantro – I like to add cilantro at the very end to give the soup an earthy flavor.
- Green onions – this garnish provides a little bit of sweetness.
- Lime juice – I love to add citrus to most soups but for this sweet-sour coconut soup, it’s just the perfect finishing touch.
How To Make Vegetarian Thai Coconut Soup
Making this vegetarian Thai coconut soup is so easy. There’s a video below that details the process however I’ll quickly run by the steps.
- Sauté the aromatics and mushrooms. In a dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes.
- Make the Tom Kha soup. Next, add carrots, soy sauce (or coconut aminos), ground ginger, sugar (or coconut sugar), cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, lemon zest, vegetable stock, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Garnish and serve. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve with sliced green onions and chopped cilantro. And don’t forget a squeeze of lime for extra freshness. That’s it!
Common Questions about Tom Kha Soup
Tom Kha soup tastes spicy, sweet, and sour. It has a savory umami flavor with a creamy texture.
Yes, it is a rich coconut milk based Thai soup made with veggies, aromatics, soy sauce, ginger, spices, and coconut milk.
If you want to save any leftover soup, make sure to transfer it to an airtight container. It will last 3-4 days in the fridge.
Any leftover Tom Kha soup can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Feel free to buy a rotisserie chicken, shred it up, and add it in, if you’d like. You can also add tofu.
Honestly, this vegetarian version of Tom Kha is so delicious as is, you may not even need to add anything else. It’s the perfect veggie-packed soup after an indulgent weekend or when you want an easy weeknight dinner.
Can’t wait for you guys to try it!
Easy Tom Kha Soup (Vegetarian Thai Coconut Soup)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small yellow onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sugar or coconut sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
- Zest from one lemon
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cans full-fat coconut milk (13.66 oz)
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 2 green onions sliced
- Lime wedges
- In a dutch oven or large pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté for 3-5 minutes.
- Add carrots, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, lemon zest, vegetable stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Serve with lime wedges, top with cilantro and green onions and enjoy!