Thai Coconut Soup and a Coconut Blog Hop

Tom Kha Hed (Thai Coconut and Mushroom Soup)

When Liz pointed out the lone stand with lemongrass in Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market a few months ago, I immediately became excited. It’s one of those ingredients that some of my favorite recipes call. It can be omitted, but you always get the sense that something is missing. You don’t need a whole lot of lemongrass to get the impact, and so Liz and I split a bunch and I quickly began thinking of how to put it to good use. In an instant I knew: Coconut mushroom soup, or Tom Kha Hed. This is one of those dishes that shows up on American Thai menus often, but I get the sense isn’t so far off from the real thing.


Lemongrass (cymbopogon) is indeed actually a grass that is native to Asia, and has a citrusy flavor with distinctive hues that are simultaneously sweet and tangy. To get the most out of it, use the slightly thicker root ends and bruise them with a mallet or back of a knife, then infuse the lemongrass in whatever you are cooking. Here, I’ve infused the lemongrass in a simmering mixture of coconut milk (one of my favorite ingredients of all time) and vegetable stock. I’ve also used lemongrass to make delightful flavored simple syrups for drinks, and there are lots of other uses.


Tom Kha Hed (Thai Coconut and Mushroom Soup)

Calling this soup Tom Kha Hed is a bit of a misnomer since the “kha” means galangal and I did not have any of that (“tom” means soup and “hed” means mushroom in Thai), but it tasted pretty darn close to anything I’ve ever had in a restaurant. The flavors are clean and bright, and it’s about as summery as a hot soup can get. You can turn this into an even more substantial meal by adding chicken or tofu. And – bonus! – it’s ready in about 20 minutes!

5.0 from 5 reviews
Thom Kha Hed (Thai Coconut Mushroom Soup)
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
This Thai-inspired, lemongrass infused coconut mushroom soup is a bright and flavorful way to start any meal. Ready in about 20 minutes!
Recipe Type: Soup
Yield: 4 to 6 servings (appetizer)
  • 1 (12-14 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 32 ounces (4 cups) vegetable stock
  • 3 pieces root end lemongrass (bottom 3-4 inches), bruised
  • 6 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  1. Put the coconut milk, vegetable stock, and bruised lemongrass in a pot and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is infused with lemongrass flavor. Remove the lemongrass.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, until just softened.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Serve immediately.
Gluten free, Parve, Vegetarian, Vegan

Serve this with Tofu Satay, Curry Puffs and Shrimp Coconut Curry for a complete Thai meal!

36 thoughts on “Thai Coconut Soup and a Coconut Blog Hop

  1. JJ @ 84thand3rd

    Too funny – I spent most of the day doing a coconut post for later in the month! I would have snapped up the lemongrass as well, I love it as tea with fresh ginger 🙂 The soup sounds lovely!

  2. Kat

    The soup looks wonderful, especially since I really love Thai dishes. I’ve added my coconut tartlets recipe, thanks again for hosting!!

  3. Alyssa

    We just returned from Thailand this week and I enjoyed a soup like this while we were there. I had no idea it was so simple! Thanks for the great recipe!

  4. mjskit

    I LOVE this Thai Soup!!! So simple and tasty! I don’t use lemongrass near as much as I should because I just love it! Thanks for the inspiration and thanks for another wonderful hop!

  5. Yael

    I love that soup,but cannot eat it when it is really hot.I am still in nicely cool Finland,but will return to the hot climate next week,,,

  6. mallory @ totalnoms

    This looks amazing. Coconut/coconut milk is one of my favorite ingredients, and I order Tom Kha Gai soup (very similar to this) every time I go to a Thai restaurant! That and Tom Yum soup are my absolute favorites. I have to make this soon!

  7. Manu

    Wow! I MUST try this out! I love all the ingredients in it! I can almost smell it! Beautiful pictures, as always! 🙂

  8. Eha

    Such a very simple soup with such a depth of flavour! Now: lemongrass – I don’t know from where all you readers blog, of course, but – I live in an ares of Australia with cool-cold winters and quite hot summers: officially in garden magazines we are deemed as ‘temperate’. I have absolutely no problems with growing lemongrass in pots: yes, it gets kind’of ‘ratty’ during the cold months, but is still usable. I have about four pots and have no difficulty whatesoever in ‘using my own’ through out the year! Hope this is of some help!! Nothing like the real McCoy 🙂 !

  9. Sarah

    If you ever need more lemongrass while in Israel stop by, it’s one of the only plants in my garden that thrives in the heat. The soup looks wonderful.

  10. kitchenriffs

    One of the things I miss about living in Florida is the lemongrass – we had quite a bit growing in our garden. It has such great flavor! And it looks like it’d work so well in this soup. Good recipe – thank you.

  11. Angela

    Hmmm I’m eager to try this.
    I’m not sure how large fresh lemongrass is, I could only use paste.
    Could you please mention how many tbsps if I need to use this stuff?
    Thank you! 🙂

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