If you love to order tom kha gai at Thai restaurants, this recipe is for you. Here, we use a slow cooker to put together a great version of this iconic chicken-coconut soup that’s packed with flavor. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day.
Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
- 4 lb. (2 kg) bone-in chicken breast halves, skinned (4 to 5 breast halves)
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lime, plus more lime juice as needed
- 3 Tbs. Asian fish sauce
- 2 Tbs. firmly packed golden brown sugar
- 1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced (optional)
- 3/4 lb. (375 g) button or cremini mushrooms, brushed clean and halved or quartered
- 2 cans (each 13 1/2 fl. oz./420 ml) coconut milk, shaken well before opening
- 1 can (8 oz./250 g) sliced bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed (optional)
- 1/3 lb. (5 oz./155 g) baby spinach (optional)
- 1/3 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
- Chopped green onions, white and light green portions, for garnish
1. Season the chicken with salt.
2. In a slow cooker, combine the broth, the zest and juice of 1 lime, the fish sauce and brown sugar and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the chicken, bone side up, in a single layer, if possible. Scatter the jalapeño and mushrooms evenly over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. The chicken should be tender and opaque throughout.
3. Uncover and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. When just cool enough to handle, bone the chicken and discard the bones and any fat or gristle. Shred the meat with your fingers or 2 forks and return it to the slow cooker. Add the coconut milk, bamboo shoots, spinach, and cilantro and stir well. Re-cover and continue to cook on low, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is heated through, the spinach is cooked and the flavors have blended, 30 to 60 minutes.
4. Taste and adjust the seasoning with lime juice and salt if needed. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and garnish with cilantro and green onions. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.
Learn to make the most of your slow cooker with this and other inspiring recipes in our Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw.