Tom Kha Hed: Thai mushroom soup with galangal, lime and coconutmilk

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Authentic dairyfree recipe that can easily be made paleo and AIP proof

Delicious spicy and creamy Thai mushroom soup that is completely glutenfree, dairyfree and paleo. With just some adjustment AIP as well. Super healthy and packed with flavors that make Thai cuisine so delicious. Of course with galangal, because that is where the name kha comes from. Tom simply means boiled, or soup. And hed is a collective name for mushrooms in Thai. You can use any mushrooms you want, I had chestnut mushrooms and shiitake.

Like Tom Kha Kai

Tom kha is one of the most famous Thai soups. It contains characteristic ingredients: red curry (spice mix, often with a little tomato puree), lime, ginger, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, coriander seed, cilantro and, above all, a lot of galangal. Always finished with coconut milk. Tom Kha is usually made with chicken (Tom Kha Kai) or shrimp (Tom Kha Kung). But it can also be vegetarian.

This version with mushrooms is an easy and quick version for weekdays. If you have a little more time, you can make this the Kai version, possibly even from home-made chicken stock.


In Holland most of the spices for this Tom Kha Hed are available in larger supermarkets. Even the galangal that is so important in this dish and the lemongrass (sereh). Of course I don’t know if this will be the case in other countries. But if you have an Asian market to go to, that would be great. The hardest ingredients will probable be the kaffir lime leaves. But those don’t need to be bought fresh and can be ordered order them online.

The fresh coriander is optional because not everyone likes it. Personally, I think it is delicious and indispensable with Thai food. The fish sauce is also listed as optional because adding that would mean the soup is no longer vegetarian or vegan.

Fish sauce

What is Thai food without umami? In addition to a little coconut amino’s (that replaces soy sauce), I also use a few drops of fish sauce (fermented anchovy juice) in this soup.

If you want to eat pure and sugar-free, it is a good idea to invest in a nice sugar-free fish sauce. Real fish sauce contains nothing but anchovies and salt. The sauce must ferment for months to even years. In Holland this is not just for sale in the supermarket. All fish sauces that you can buy in the supermarket have been accelerated fermented with enzymes or hydrochloric acid. To compensate for the lack of taste, flavor enhancers and sugar are often added. Too bad, because that really shouldn’t be part of it. I prefer to use Red Boat Fishsauce. In my country that can be purchased online.


You can almost use any ready-made stock for this soup: mushroom, vegetable, chicken or fish. Be sure to buy good stock or an organic powder.

Tom Kha Hed: Thai mushroom soup with galangal, lime and coconutmilk

Spicy, creamy Thai mushroom soup with coconut milk, galangal, turmeric, lime and cilantro. Dairyfree, paleo and AIP with just some adjustments.
Free from dairy, eggs, eggwhites, gluten, grains, legumes, nightshade, nuts, peanuts, pseudograins, seeds, soy
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course soup
Servings 2 bowls
Calories 317


  • frying pan
  • soup pan
  • grater
  • garlic press
  • immersion blender optional


  • 1 cup chestnut mushrooms (125 grams)
  • 1 cup shiitake (125 grams)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 stalks green or spring onion
  • 4 gloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh galangal grated, kha/laos
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric or 1 tsp powder
  • 1 stalk lemongrass sereh
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds ground
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 pinch black pepper ground
  • ½ can coconut milk (6/6,5 oz, 200 ml)
  • cup stock (10 oz, 300 ml)
  • 1 tsp coconut amino's or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil for frying
  • 4 kaffir lemon leaves djeroek poeroet
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 3 drops fish sauce
For paleo, AIP and free of nightshade
  • adjustments no chili pepper, paprika powder or tomato paste
For AIP and free from seeds
  • adjustments no coriander seeds and black pepper


  • Chop the onion. Fry with a generous tablespoon of coconut oil.
  • Press the garlic. Cut the red pepper into thin (half) rings. Reserve some red pepper to garnish. Cut the spring onion into pieces, keep the dark green part aside.
  • When the onions are translucent, add the garlic, spring onion and red pepper. Mix.
  • Grate the ginger and galangal. If they are very stringy, you can also cut them into slices and remove them later. Wash the lime well and grate the zest. Only the green-yellow, not the white.
  • Add the ginger, the galangal and the lemon zest.
  • Add the dry spices and tomato puree. Then add the stock, coconut milk and coconut amino's.
  • Squeeze the lime and add the juice.
  • Cut the sereh in half lengthwise, but leave the base intact. This way you can easily get it out again later.
  • If you use them, now also add the kaffir lime leaves and the fish sauce.
  • In the meantime, cut the mushrooms and shiitake into slightly thicker slices than how you want them to turn out after frying. They will shrink. I usually get 4 slices from a slightly smaller chestnut mushroom and 5 from a slightly larger one.
  • I prefer to fry the mushrooms and shiitake in a separate pan. On high heat and with a large spoonful of oil. Let them brown quite a bit. Then they will get a nice caramelized taste and lose less moisture. If you don't have that space, fry the mushrooms in the soup pan with the onion.
  • You can puree the soup before adding the mushrooms. Then you get a smooth, creamy soup. I personally like some bite, so I keep it that way.
  • Add the mushrooms.
  • Take the lime leaves and lemongrass out. Pour into bowls and garnish with a handful of fresh coriander and rings of red pepper.

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