Tom Kha Gai

Let’s just say there’s a lot of basil being used in the “Toasted Special” kitchen these days. I’m trying to cope with my first ever glut, and I’m not having a great deal of success. Like I said in a previous post, I sowed a generic variety of basil because it was too late in the year to sow the Genovese variety, at least according to the instructions on the packet. The basil I have is very different, probably closer in flavour to Thai basil, than Italian. It’s got a distinct citrus flavour, so I figured it would work nicely in some Thai influenced dishes. I’ve been making this soup for a few years now, it’s the classic example of how “hot, salty, sour and sweet” work together in South-East Asian cooking. It’s purely a matter of taste, so adjust the lime juice, sugar and fish sauce as you see fit.

I make no apology for using a bought Thai curry paste. I use an authentic brand from Thailand called “Mae Ploy”. If you’re in Dublin, you can get it the Asia Market or Fallon & Byrne. (No prizes for guessing where it’s cheaper!) They contain only natural ingredients and if it’s good enough for Thai people, it’s good enough for me!

Tom Kha Gai


  • 2 free-range chicken breasts
  • 750ml chicken stock (cube is fine)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small courgette, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 1 red chilli pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh basil


  1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil, then add the chicken breasts. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat and leave to simmer very gently for about 10 minutes while you get on with making the rest of the soup.
  2. Heat some oil in a heavy saucepan and fry the onion until it’s just starting to colour. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and stir-fry for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add the green curry paste and stir-fry for a minute or two to coat the vegetables in the paste.
  4. Remove the chicken breasts from the hot stock and add the stock to the spicy vegetables. Slice the chicken breasts thinly and add to the soup along with the coconut milk.
  5. Add the red chilli, lime juice sugar and fish sauce then simmer for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. You probably won’t need any salt because the curry paste will be salty enough.
  6. Chop a handful of fresh coriander and basil and mix into the soup, then serve.

Serves 2.


2 Responses to “Tom Kha Gai”

  1. 1 Laksa Noodle Soup - Recipe | Toasted Special Trackback on September 9, 2009 at 3:05 pm
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