How to Make Gaeng Om (Thai Herbal Curry Soup)

Asian Soups

Gaeng Om, an herbal curry soup from northeastern Thailand, is not your typical Thai curry. Or even your typical Southeast Asian soup recipe. It’s not fiery hot. It’s not rich and heavy. And it’s not sweet.

Nor is it made with the red and green Thai curry pastes that require lots of ingredients and a good hour spent pounding everything into a paste in a mortar and pestle. Yes, you can buy little jars or tins of these pastes, but they lack the freshness and taste of a truly homemade curry paste.

And that’s what I love about Gaeng Om. There are only 5 ingredients for the paste – lemongrass, galangal, chiles, shallots, and garlic – so you can make it in a fairly short amount of time.

And it’s absolutely bursting with flavor.

gaeng om, a thai herbal soup

Seriously, doesn’t that look amazing?!

Well, I promise you it tastes even better. 


A Thai Soup with Health Benefits

I also love that Gaeng Om is a very healing, broth-based soup. The combination of the paste dissolved in the broth creates a very fragrant, light, yet complex soup. It’s then loaded with veggies and herbs. Personally, I just love the herbal combination of dill, Thai basil, and kaffir lime leaves. Feel free to experiment with other types of herbs and veggies.  You could also easily modify this into a vegetarian soup. Or you could use other types of meats in place of chicken.  

Finally, this recipe is included in my book, The Thai Soup Secret.

Thai Soup Secret cover

Transform Your Health with Thailand’s #1 Superfood!

Includes 40 restorative recipes for broths, congees, and soups. All gluten and dairy-free!

My mission was to expose the diverse world of healthy Thai soups to a wider audience. In my travels in Thailand, I found there were tons of broth-based soups, most gluten- and dairy-free, just like Gaeng Om, that are relatively unknown outside Thailand. 

And many are ridiculously simple to make, just like this recipe for Gaeng Om. 

How to Make Gaeng Om (Thai Herbal Curry Soup)

gaeng om, a thai herbal soup

Gaeng Om Recipe

Gaeng Om is a medicinal herbal curry soup from northeastern Thailand. It's not a typical Thai curry in that it's not fiery hot, heavy or sweet! 
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
CourseMain Course, Soup
Prep Time45 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings4 people
AuthorCraig Fear


For the curry paste:

  • 2 stalks lemongrass cut into thin slices
  • 1-2 inch piece galangal diced
  • 2-4 Thai chiles also called bird's eye chiles, deseeded and chopped
  • 3-4 small shallots chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves chopped

For soup:

  • 1 quart chicken broth or pork broth
  • 1 cup chicken raw or pre-cooked
  • 1 TBSP fish sauce
  • 4-5 kaffir lime leaves ripped
  • 1 cup squash cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 3-4 stalks scallions sliced
  • dill fresh, about 1/2 cup packed
  • Thai basil fresh, about 1/4 cup packed

Seasonings, to taste


  • Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, pound or blend the lemongrass, galangal, shallots, garlic and chiles into a rough paste.
  • Bring the chicken broth to a simmer and add in the paste and simmer a few minutes.
  • Add the fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, chicken (if raw) squash, mushrooms and green beans and simmer about 5 – 10 minutes until the veggies are tender and chicken is cooked.  Add the Napa cabbage and simmer 1-2 minutes until it wilts.  If using pre-cooked chicken add it with the Napa cabbage.
  • Turn off the heat and add the green onions, dill and Thai basil. Stir thoroughly into the soup.
  • Ladle into individual bowls and add seasonings, to taste.  Serve with a side of jasmine rice, optional.


Serving: 2cups (1 bowl) | Calories: 135kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 1851mg | Potassium: 727mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 4090IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 2mg
Fearless Eating may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. More info here.

About the Author

Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.