When I was growing up, one of my favorite foods was Tom Kha Gai soup - also known as Thai Coconut Soup. Whenever my mom would make it I would happily eat bowl after bowl of the tangy, fresh, coconut-flavored soup.

I had not had homemade Thai Coconut Soup in years, until three weeks ago. Ever since I went off to college and then moved across the country on my own I've had occasional cravings, and even tried it in restaurants. But, there was always too much sugar (in my opinion, any at all is too much), or the flavor wasn't quite right. However, when I mentioned how much I loved it, a friend suggested we make it from scratch. And three weeks ago that is exactly what we did!

We found a few recipes online, settled on one that looked decent and then picked everything up from the store. Two hours, and some slicing, dicing and boiling later, I was in heaven with the incredible flavors. It wasn't quite as creamy or spicy as I remembered, but it was good! The past two weekends I've made it again, modifying a bit here or there to get it just right, and so below is my take on Thai Coconut Soup. This recipe is paleo and for me has a minimal impact on blood sugar as there is no sugar, just a lot of protein and some fat.

Tim's Thai Coconut Soup:

  • 28 oz coconut milk (2 cans)

  • 6 quarter-size slices of fresh ginger

  • 3 pieces galangal (Thai ginger)

  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut in 1-in pieces

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh in 1-in chunks

  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon Thai chili paste

  • 2 large handfuls of spinach

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, broth, ginger and lemongrass and bring to a boil over high heat. Add chicken, mushrooms, spinach, lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is firm and opaque, 5-10 minutes. Discard lemongrass and ginger chunks. Garnish with cilantro.

Note that I like it creamy and so use two cans of coconut milk, but the original called for 1 can of chicken broth instead which you could do if you wanted to lighten it up. Also this doesn't traditionally have spinach in it, but I like the added nutrition. If you find anything else that goes well in it, I would love to hear about it! Enjoy!