Tom Kha soup calories_featured

Tom Kha Soup Calories & Vegetarian Option

Thailand has many renowned dishes like Tom Yum soup or green curry. However, you might have seen a white-colored soup in a Thai restaurant or while you are in Thailand. The white colored soup you have just seen is called Tom Kha soup. But do not let its plain look deceive you, the soup is rich in flavours. Having said that, do you need to be worried about Tom Kha soup calories? Let’s learn more about Tom Kha soup calories in this article.

Table of Contents

What is Tom Kha Soup?

Tom Kha soup refers to a spicy and sour coconut milk soup which most commonly contains chicken and mushroom. The one containing chicken in the soup is called Tom Kha Gai – as Gai means chicken in Thai. Coconut milk gives Tom Kha a smooth tasting, white colored soup base which is then enhanced by herbs like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. These herbs add nice fragrance to the soup. Tom Kha derives its taste primarily from fresh chili, lime and fish sauces. Some recipes also add a bit of sugar for sweetness.

Tom Kha soup calories

Tom Kha soup calories_ingredients

A serving of Thai Tom Kha soup, which makes use of 100% coconut milk, for a single person contains about 700 to 900 calories. However, if you have Tom Kha soup with a bowl of rice, then you are looking at adding another 100 to 200 calories to the meal.

You might wonder what makes Tom Kha soup so high in calories? Let’s break Tom Kha soup’s major ingredients down.

  • Protein = 708 cal
  • Vegetable = 64 cal
  • Coconut milk = 800-900 cal
  • Other seasonings = 30 cal
  • Total = 1,700 cal for 2 servings

From the breakdown above, the answer lies with coconut milk. That is, 100% coconut milk without dilution contains as much as 800 calories per 500 ml box. 

Can Tom Kha be lighter on calories or can it be vegetarian?

A recipe which makes use of chicken stock can reduce the amount of coconut milk by up to half, effectively reducing Tom Kha soup calories count. Apart from that, switching to leaner chicken like chicken breast can also help (or add more mushroom and less chicken). 

While you cannot remove a key ingredient like coconut milk from Tom Kha soup, you can consider another great tasting Thai soup like Tom Yum instead. Clear broth Tom Yum contains less than half of Tom Kha calories.

Can Tom Kha be vegetarian? The answer is yes. There are recipes that purely use coconut milk and no chicken stock. For such a recipe, removing chicken and replacing it with a variety of mushrooms effectively makes the dish vegetarian (and might need to replace fish sauce with salt).

What other vegetables fit well with and help with Tom Kha soup calories?

While Tom Kha soup mostly contains mushroom, some other vegetables also fit well into the soup.

For example, you can add tomatoes into Tom Kha soup. Tom Kha soup is sour thanks to lime. And as you can imagine, adding tomatoes will add more sour taste to the soup. Another vegetable you can add is white Chinese cabbage. While they contain water and may dilute the soup, they also absorb the nice spicy & sour Tom Kha soup once simmered!

Should you try Tom Kha and is it healthy?

Tom Kha is a delicious dish that you should try. It might be a bit high in calorie count but there are ways to reduce the it. So if you are health conscious, you can still have this Tom Kha soup by making a healthier version of it. Vegetarians can also try this Tom Kha soup by replacing the proteins with vegetables and mushrooms. 

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