Bangkok in a bowl

Nancy Lam whips up her version of thom ka gai a classic fragrant Thai coconut and chicken soup
By Nancy Lam
Bangkok in a bowl
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 pieces galangal
  • 1 sticks lemongrass
  • 1/2 limes, juice only
  • 2 bunches coriander
  • 2 green chillies, sliced
  • 3 lime leaves
  • 1 dashes of fish sauce

For the soup

  • 800 ml coconut milk
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 sticks lemongrass, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 aubergine
  • 1 courgette, cut into batons
  • 1 small handfuls leaves of pak choi
  • 150 g mangetout
  • 1 red bird's eye chilli, sliced
  • 1 dashes of fish sauce
  • vegetable oil
  • 3 lime leaves
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander, to serve


1. For the paste: place all of the paste ingredients into a food processor and blend to a smooth purée.

2. For the soup: gently heat the coconut milk in a pan.

3. Heat a wok until smoking and add a dash of vegetable oil, then add the chicken strips. Fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the chicken is browned all over and just cooked through. Remove the chicken from the wok and set aside.

4. Return the wok to the heat and add the lemon grass, followed by the aubergine, courgette, pak choi, and mangetout. Stir well, then add the chicken stock, red chilli, and lime leaves. Bring to the boil and cook for 1-2 minutes.

5. In a small bowl, mix together the paste and a dash of fish sauce, then stir into the soup. Pour in the warmed coconut milk and stir well to combine, then add the chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is completely cooked through.

6. To serve, spoon the soup into serving bowls and garnish with the chopped coriander.

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