Thai Coconut Soup with Ham

What do you do when you have a lot of protein leftover from your holiday? In my case I had a lot of ham left over, which goes great in sandwiches, of course, but another obvious way to use ham is in soup. There are lots of traditional American soups that use ham, and I love many of them. This is Global Dine In, however, and so I decided to show you something that’s a global fusion. In this case I decided to use my leftover ham to make Thai coconut soup, one of my favorite soups in the whole world.

Thai coconut soup is slightly spicy and tangy — just perfect if you ask me. The spice comes from Thai chilis and the tanginess comes from lime juice. In Thailand this is called Tom Kha Gai and the recipe includes coconut milk, ginger (or galangal), kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and certain mushrooms. You can make it from seafood, chicken, pork, or tofu. There’s not just one way to make it.

I’ve never seen Thai coconut soup made from ham (let me know if you have), so I decided to try it this way. In addition to ham I added some large shrimp to make it richer. I used cremini and button mushrooms, but you can use whatever mushroom is available to you. This is really a unique soup that will wake up your taste buds without being too spicy!

This soup was loved by even my picky eaters — it’s rich, creamy, tangy, and perfectly balanced; light and bursting with flavor!



  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 3/4 cup shallots, medium diced
  • 5 pieces 1/4-inch sliced ginger
  • 1 whole lemon grass, both ends removed, bruised, cut into 5 pieces
  • 3 large kafir lime leaves, torn into pieces
  • 3 red Thai chilis
  • 1 tbsp. chicken base
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 14.5 oz. can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups cooked, large diced ham
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. cleaned mushroom, cut into wedges (I used cremini and button)
  • 1/2 lbs. extra large shrimp, cleaned, deveined, peeled, and tail intact
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lime juice


  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges
  • Thai chilis, thinly sliced


Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a medium pot, over medium heat. Add the shallots, ginger, lemongrass, chilies, and lime leaves, stirring frequently for 5 minute or until shallots are softened.

Add chicken base, water, and coconut milk, then bring to a gentle boil. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add ham, fish sauce, sugar, and salt, and cook for another 10 minutes.


Add mushrooms and shrimp, then stir. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the lime juice and taste for seasoning.

Remove lime leaves, whole chilis, lemon grass, and ginger before serving. Garnish with cilantro, extra lime, and few slices of chilis!

Serves 4

Did you make this dish? I’d love to know how it turns out! Feel free to like this post and comment or use the hashtag #globaldinein on Instagram


One response to “Thai Coconut Soup with Ham”

  1. Crispy Fried Shallots crunchy, salty, oily bits of fried shallots, a common garnish in dishes across South East Asia. Nowadays found in large supermarkets, but cheaper in Asian stores. It makes an appearance regularly around here eg  Chinese Chicken Salad ,  Nasi Goreng,   Chinese Ham Bone Rice Soup ,  Asian Slaw ,  Amazing Easy Thai Coconut Soup   to name a few!

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