A seafood-based version of classic Tom Kha Gai. Tom Kha Goong replaces chicken with tender shrimp, keeping things light yet remarkably satisfying. This restaurant-quality soup is full of rich, tangy flavors from galangal to lemongrass, jalapeño to red chilies, coconut to lime. Incredibly easy to make, and easy to make Whole30, paleo, or vegan if needed.
🍲 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- If you love our Best Ever Tom Kha Gai, and you love shrimp, then you will absolutely love this tom kha goong! This recipe has all of the flavors and textures you fell in love with, but swaps out the chicken for a Thai coconut shrimp soup. It’s super light, super satisfying, and super nutritious. Win, win, win!
- New to tom kha? Then you’re in for a real treat! A rich base of chicken broth and coconut milk infused with slow-cooked aromatics. Bright, vibrant notes of lemongrass and lime juice. A slight heat from red jalapeño and fresh galangal. Incredible depth and umami from red Thai chili paste, onions, and fish sauce, with just the tiniest bit of sweetness from the coconut sugar. Plus it’s loaded with tender shrimp and earthy mushrooms and nutty garlic.
- The ingredients you’ll need to make tom kha goong are readily available at most grocery stores, so don’t let the list intimidate you. If your local Western grocery store doesn’t offer a very diverse selection, be sure to check your nearest international market!
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Lemongrass makes a real difference to the final flavor of the soup, so don’t skip it, and be sure to prep it correctly to get all the flavor out of it. To prep the lemongrass, lay it on a cutting board and cut away the base and the top. If there are any leaves, remove those, too. Place the broad side of a knife down on top of the remaining stalk. Pound on the knife with the heel of your hand – that breaks open the fibers in the stalk and makes it easier to slice. You can also use a meat mallet or a rolling pin instead of the side of a knife if you’d prefer. Whatever you use, move it from one end of the stalk to the other, breaking the fibers all the way through.
- Substituting lemongrass paste for your lemongrass stalk? No problem. In general, you’ll want to use less of the paste since it’s more concentrated. I recommend starting with ½ or ¾ tablespoon of lemongrass paste, then tasting the soup before adding more.
- If you’re unsure about the red chili paste because of the potential spiciness, I totally get it. I don’t find this to be a very hot soup by any means, but the red Thai curry paste does give it a little kick. You can use a yellow curry paste for a more-moderate heat, or if you really like things hot, opt for a green curry paste instead.
🍴More Delicious Meals We Love
- Wonton Egg Drop Soup
- Egg Roll in a Bowl with Creamy Chili Sauce
- Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki
- Air Fryer Egg Rolls (Homemade or Frozen)
- Zuppa Toscana
- Mexican Soup
- She Crab Soup
- Duck Fried Rice
- Seafood Chili
- Air Fryer Chicken Katsu
For the Tom Kha Goong
- 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil solid or liquid
- 1 cup thinly sliced white onion half of one medium onion, sliced; approximately 8–10 thin slices
- 2 cloves garlic peeled, chopped
- 2 tablespoons sliced red jalapeño pepper half of one red jalapeño pepper, sliced; or 1-3 Thai chiles, halved
- 3 ¼-inch-long slices fresh galangal
- 1 lemongrass stalk approximately 20g; pounded with side of knife, then cut into 2-inch long pieces
- 2 teaspoons red Thai curry paste plus more to taste
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth see Notes
- 4 cups unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk from can, not carton; see Notes
- 8 ounces white mushroom caps sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce more or less to taste, see Notes
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar see Notes
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice see Notes
- 1 pound shrimp fresh or frozen; peeled, deveined
Serving Suggestions (All Optional)
- thinly sliced green onions
- chopped fresh cilantro
- Large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven
- Large wooden spoon
- Slotted spoon
- Place large, heavy-bottomed pot on stovetop over medium heat. When pot is warm, add 1 tablespoon refined coconut oil and swirl or tilt pot as needed to distribute oil across entire surface. Continue heating pot until oil is melted, hot, and shimmery.
- When oil is hot, add 1 cup thinly sliced white onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons sliced red jalapeño pepper, 3 ¼-inch-long slices fresh galangal, 1 lemongrass stalk, and 2 teaspoons red Thai curry paste to pot. Stir to incorporate, then sauté ingredients 5 minutes or until onions have softened. Stir ingredients frequently to prevent sticking or burning.
- When onions have softened, pour 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth into pot and increase temperature under pot to medium-high. Stir to incorporate broth, making sure to scrape bottom of pot to loosen any ingredients that may have stuck during sauté.
- Bring chicken broth to rolling boil. Once boiling, immediately reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer mixture, uncovered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 30 minutes, use slotted spoon to remove large garlic pieces, onion slices (optional), lemongrass pieces, and slices of galangal. Discard aromatics.
- Remove pot from heat and let mixture cool slightly. Pour 4 cups unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk into cooled mixture and stir to incorporate, then return pot to stovetop over medium-low heat.
- Add 8 ounces white mushroom caps to pot. Stir to incorporate, then simmer mixture 3 to 5 minutes or until mushrooms have softened.
- Add 1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce, 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar, and 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Stir to incorporate additions, then simmer mixture 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, taste mixture and adjust fish sauce, coconut sugar, and lime juice as desired.
- When satisfied with flavor of mixture, add 1 pound shrimp to pot. Stir gently to incorporate, then simmer 1 to 2 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, lightly pink, and curled into slight "J" shape.
- When shrimp is cooked through, immediately portion soup into serving bowls. Garnish with thinly sliced green onions and chopped fresh cilantro if desired. Serve immediately.
- Galangal Root: If you can’t find galangal, you can replace it with an equal amount of fresh ginger root. The ginger will give the soup a different flavor, though, so keep that in mind.
- Coconut Milk: Be sure to use coconut cream or coconut milk. Coco lopez, cream of coconut, and coconut creamer are not the same as coconut cream or coconut milk and will not work in this recipe.
- Lime Juice: To replace the lime juice with lime leaves, cut the leaves into 2 pieces (cutting away the center vein), then stack all the leaf pieces on top of each other. Roll the leaves tightly, then slice the roll into very thin slices. Sprinkle the sliced leaves into the soup in place of the lime juice.
- Shrimp: For the chicken version of this soup, see our recipe for the best ever Tom Kha Gai.
- Make it Whole30: Use compliant chicken broth. Use 2 tablespoons coconut aminos instead of coconut sugar. Use Red Boat fish sauce – this is the only sauce I’ve found to be compliant.
- Make it Vegan/Vegetarian: Use vegetable stock, preferably an Asian variety. Use a 1-pound block of firm or extra firm tofu (regular or silken) cut into bite-sized cubes. For vegan, use soy sauce (to taste) instead of fish sauce.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.