A Deliciously Tasty Tom Kha Shrimp Soup Recipe

Tom Kha shrimp soup is an irresistible traditional Thai soup. The creaminess of this soup makes it comforting while the spices pack in a lot of flavors. What is the best way to make a deliciously tasty tom kha shrimp soup recipe and how can you make it in the comfort of your home? Read on to find out.

What is Tom Kha Soup?

Tom kha soup is a Thai soup that uses galangal to create big flavors. This soup is comforting and creamy, while also having a lot of nutrients, so it can be a great part of any healthy lifestyle. This soup has all the ingredients you can expect from the original Thai cuisine, but you can eat it in your own home!

What is Galangal?

One of the key ingredients of this recipe is galangal. Galangal is closely linked to other spices like turmeric or ginger, but it has a unique flavor that makes it stand out in a recipe and gives the recipe a subtle medicinal taste. Whereas ginger can be grated, galangal is harder, so it is sliced. Its taste is earthy with some citrusy tones, so it can really pack a punch in a recipe.

Authentic Tom Kha Shrimp Soup Recipe

This tom kha shrimp soup recipe is creamy and delicious. It contains a lot of ingredients, but it is well worth the effort you will put into it, and you’ll feel quite accomplished when you have irresistible results. Whether you’re just making this recipe for yourself, or you’re sharing it with others, it’s bound to hit the spot.


  • 4-inch piece of galangal, peeled and sliced (for infusion)
  • 4-inch-long galangal, peeled and sliced thinly (for main soup)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (for infusion)
  • 5 cups chicken broth (for main soup)
  • 3 cups coconut
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
  • 1 bag of frozen corn
  • 4 ounces of mushrooms
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Thai chilis, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup fish sauce
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and defrosted
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass, using only the white parts, smashed
  • 20 fresh kaffir lime leaves, crushed in hand to expel the
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 15-ounce can of bamboo shoots
  • 8 ounces of snap peas


  1. You’ll start by making a broth infusion. Using a mortar and pestle, pound galangal slices for infusion) into a paste. This generally takes around 30 seconds. Place this aside.
  2. Put chicken broth for the infusion in a pot, and over medium heat, bring chicken broth to a simmer. When the chicken broth is simmering, put approximately ¼ of the broth over the galangal to get the flavor out. This takes about 2 minutes. Continue to add the rest of the chicken broth in batches, and press on the galangal to get out as much flavor as possible. Place the infused broth aside.
  3. The saucepan is now empty and you’ll use it to make the main soup mixture. Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat and add the shallots and sliced bell pepper. Heat for about 3 minutes or until aromatic. You should then add the shrimp, and you’ll want to mostly cook the shrimp through.
  4. Take the contents out of the pot and place them aside.
  5. Add the broth and the broth infusion to the pot. You should also add water, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and cilantro.
  6. Simmer the ingredients for about 15 minutes. After simmering, you should use a sieve to remove the herbs. As the broth cooks, you can prepare your veggies and mushrooms, cutting them to whatever size you prefer.
  7. Reduce the heat of the soup and put in the coconut sugar. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  8. Add the veggies, mushrooms, chilis, and shrimp mixed you put aside. Mix in soy sauce.
  9. Cook for 15 additional minutes, covered. Remove the soup from the heat and add lime juice, coconut milk, and fish sauce.
  10. Serve right away, and you can use cilantro, chilis, sriracha, and lime for garnishes.

Can I Make Substitutions?

Substituting ingredients is one of my favorite things when I’m making recipes. While I usually start by following the authentic recipe, as I continue to use the recipe, I love to get creative. A lot of the time, I make substitutions for the sake of convenience and to use ingredients I already have rather than buying all new ones and letting ingredients in my produce drawer go to waste.

I encourage you to make substitutions when necessary, but you should recognize that making these substitutions will make the flavors less authentic and slight variations can have big flavor impacts.

Galangal has similar properties to other spices like ginger or turmeric, so it makes sense that some people would just swap in ginger instead of galangal. In theory, you can substitute fresh ginger. However, I urge you to try the galangal if possible because I think it makes this recipe really special and tastes just like you would get from a Thai restaurant.

Protein substitution is also common for this recipe. If you aren’t a huge shrimp fan, other proteins like chicken are commonly used in this soup. I’ve also had really good outcomes with baked tofu for those of you who prefer a vegetarian recipe. You can also use just about any stock or broth of your choice to reflect your protein choice.

Where to Get Galangal?

For many people who aren’t familiar with galangal, it may be a challenge to find this ingredient until you know what to look for. Fortunately, there are many ways to find this ingredient, and it’s actually quite versatile to have in your kitchen. You can actually find this in your grocery store. If your grocery store has a section dedicated to exotic produce, that’s a great place to look. It can also sometimes be found near ginger. You’ll notice that galangal will have lighter skin than ginger but otherwise looks similar.

If you struggle to find this at your local grocery store, there are other places that will often carry this root. There are plenty of online markets and stores that will offer galangal. Furthermore, you can always check out your local Asian market, which commonly carries galangal and other ingredients commonly used in Asian cuisine.

Is This Soup Good for You?

This soup is a great part of a healthy diet. Galangal is a traditional spice used in Chinese medicine. Thus, it’s an ingredient that can have a lot of associated health benefits. It has been shown to be protective against cancers like the liver, breast, and skin. While these findings are only based on test-tube tests, they do show the promise of this food. Galangal has also had some associations with increased fertility in men, reduction of inflammation, and safeguarding against infection.

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