Thai Chicken Coconut Soup | Whole30 and Paleo

A raging headache and sinus pressure was illiciting some really specific cravings in me this morning. Many times it is Mexican food, but today, it was this Thai Chicken Coconut Soup. Similar to Tom Gha, it is shredded chicken in a base of coconut milk and chicken broth with a heavy dose of lime juice to make it slightly tart and while it didn’t end my symptoms, it sure fulfilled the craving for something hot, spicy and soothing.

Tom Gha vs. Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

If you have been to a Thai restaurant, chances are you have had Tom Gha. Typically it is served in a large bowl with Thai basil or cilantro and is flavored heavily with lemongrass and galangal. Since this was a last minute craving and I don’t have an Asian market out here in the country, I made do with lime juice and zest and fresh ginger but added garlic for its therapeutic benefits with sinus issues. Tom Gha is sparse on vegetables because it is meant to be part of a multi-course meal. Since this was all I was having for lunch I decided to go more towards a traditional chicken soup by adding carrots, shallots, green onions and peppers. I threw in fresh jalapenos because I was craving the spice of them to help with my sinus pressure. Cilantro is more traditional, but I had lots of Thai basil that I harvested before our first freeze so I used that. When it was all said and done, it was a beautiful and tasty mashup of two cultures in a bowl.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup | Whole30 and Paleo

Feel free to add any other vegetables you would like. Spinach and mushrooms are more traditional and can be used instead of, or along with the veggies below to bulk up the soup and give it even more nutritional value.


  • 6 cups chicken broth (preferably bone broth)

  • 8 thin slices ginger, smashed

  • 1 tbsp minced garlic

  • 3/4 cup chopped red pepper

  • 3/4 cup chopped shallot

  • 3 carrots thinly sliced

  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced, optional

  • 3 cups shredded chicken

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk

  • 2 tbsp maple syrup, leave out for Whole30

  • Zest of two limes

  • 1/4 cup lime juice

  • 1 tsp salt (or to taste)

  • 1 cup Thai basil, regular basil or cilantro leaves


  • Bring the chicken broth and ginger to a boil then lower heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Remove ginger then add garlic, peppers, shallots and carrots. If the chicken is cold, you can add it now so it can get saturated with the flavors and warm with the soup.
  • Once the veggies are soft, add the chicken, if you didn’t earlier, coconut milk, maple syrup, lime zest, lime juice, salt and half the basil or cilantro leaves.
  • Taste and add more lime juice or salt to taste.
  • Serve with extra basil or cilantro.

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