Tom Kha Mussels

This soup always get people moaning with pleasure. That makes it my favourite go-to soup to start my dinner party on the right note! 🙂

Why Mussels?

Inspired by the popular Tom Kha Gai recipe, I gave it a unique twist serving this with fresh mussels instead. The soup base is tangy and sweet, slightly creamy and perfect with this shellfish. We have abundant fresh locally farmed mussels from Singapore (one of the few fresh produce locally available here in this tiny country) and they are sweet and delectable in this soup. My version featured here also has me adding a extra step, frying the mussels first with ginger, garlic and chili before adding the stock in. This extra step, although tedious, is what I think makes the soup pops up and why the guests moan….haha.

You can make this soup with chicken, pork or fish too, just adding it directly into the soup without the need to fry it. Or you can make it vegan but adding different types of vegetables eg. baby corn, egg plant, different kind of mushrooms and tofu makes an excellent wholesome soup.

Tom Kha Mussels


  • 2 lemongrass, smashed
  • 8 shallots, skin removed
  • 5-6cm of galangal, sliced
  • 6-8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1.5L water
  • 200g coconut cream
  • 3cm ginger, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bird’s eye chili, chopped
  • 4 tablespoon oil of choice
  • 1kg mussels, washed and de-bearded
  • 8 baby tomatoes
  • 1 cup mushroom of choice (enoki or oyster mushroom)
  • 1 cup fresh thai basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves, chopped roughly
  • Fried shallots, optional
  • 2 tbsp palm sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce (soy or liquid aminos for the vegans)
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice


  1. Start with prepping the soup. In a big stock pot, add all the ingredients together and bring to boil. Let it simmer on low heat without lid for about 20 minutes to allow the herbs to infuse the soup
  2. In a wok, heat up oil. Add ginger, garlic and chili and stir fry till slightly browned. Add mussels in and fry it for about 5 minutes. Add the soup into the wok. Add all the tomatoes, mushroom and basil leaves. Cover and let it bring it boil. 3. Uncover, add the seasoning of palm sugar and fish sauce. The flavour should be slight sweet and sour, creamy. 4. Scoop the mussels soup into respective bowls. Garnish with coriander and shallots before serving.


You can also do a chicken/pork/fish or vegan variation. This version would be easier. Just prepare the stock base. Once it has simmered for 15-20 minutes, sieve the soup from the ingredients. Add chicken and vegetables into the sieved stock, cover and allow it to come to boil again. Once boiled, you can serve immediately with the garnishing.

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