#LowCarb Tom Kha Gai, a.k.a., Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Over the past couple of years, I’ve fallen in love with Thai food—there’s an excellent restaurant in my neighborhood where I’ve quite enjoyed experimenting and trying different dishes/flavors. The first dish I fell for, though, was Tom Kha Gai—spicy coconut soup with chicken. One of the reasons I love it is the combination of sweet, salty, sour, and spicy flavors. And that’s what usually makes it (a) high carb and (b) hard to make at home with multiple steps and a long cooking time. But not anymore!

Tom Kha Gai

  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 1 can (14 oz) chicken broth
  • 1.5 teaspoons ginger paste
  • 1.5 teaspoons lemongrass paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1–2 teaspoons Splenda or other sugar substitute (to taste)
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced into thin rounds


  • Large (2–3 quart) pot
  • Measuring spoons (1/2 teaspoon, teaspoon, tablespoon)
  • Sharp knife, cutting board
  • Measuring cup (1 cup)

In a large pot over medium (slightly under medium) heat, combine coconut milk, broth, ginger, lemongrass, chili paste, lime juice, and fish sauce. Stir well. While the liquid heats/steeps (it’s fine to simmer, but do not boil), cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to liquid. Slice mushrooms and add to soup. (For me, the tops of four large white mushrooms was a very generous cup sliced.) Return to a simmer; reduce heat, cover, and let cook 12 minutes. Seed jalapeno and slice into thin rounds. Add to soup and let simmer an additional 2–3 minutes.

Makes 4 servings with 6.5 net grams of carbs.


This was so, so, so yummy—about on par with the version at my favorite restaurant. There are several ways you can alter this recipe to your taste by reducing the amount of Splenda or lime juice, adding more ginger or chili paste, making it with shrimp instead of chicken, or even adding other vegetables, such as sweet peppers, green beans, watercress, or bean sprouts. Just don’t forget to adjust the carb count.

About Kaye Dacus

Kaye Dacus Academic Editor (at NCU). Published Author (11 novels, dozens of articles, essays, poems). Prolific Procrastinator. www.kayedacus.com
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3 Responses to #LowCarb Tom Kha Gai, a.k.a., Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

  1. Judy D says:

    Bring the pastes and fish sauce and we can make this next time you come. I have coconut milk and other ingredients. Sounds wonderful

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dani says:

    If you add a couple kaffir lime leaves in at start (fish them out before serving) it will be more authentic…. and super tasty (no carbs added)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kaye Dacus says:

      If I hadn’t been in the beginning stages of coming down with a cold and had felt up to running over to the international market a couple of blocks from Kroger, I probably would have. I ended up using the lemongrass paste because my Kroger doesn’t even carry fresh lemongrass.


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