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Gluten Free Tom Kha Gai from Intercontinental Ko Samui (Paleo, AIP)

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Gluten Free Tom Kha Gai from Intercontinental Ko Samui (Paleo, AIP)

I am always in awe when I meet chefs that chose to live off the beaten path and bring their passion for cooking with them all across the world, opening their gastronomic traditions to the influences of the most diverse food cultures. Does a French Chef that cooks gluten free Tom Kha Gai sound eclectic enough to you?

Gilbert Louis Negro, the executive chef at Intercontinental Ko Samui has been working for the brand for 38 years, and yet his career has been anything but boring.

Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui

After starting his journey at the Ritz Carlton in Cannes, he spent 12 years in Africa cooking for the brand’s safari lodges in Gabon, Zaire (now Congo) and Zambia.

He’s had a good dose of the Middle East, working in Bahrain and Dubai, and, two years ago, he landed in Thailand, where he now leads the kitchen at Amber, the main restaurant at the Intercontinental Ko Samui.

Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui

Together with Tao Srikhem, the Specialist Thai Chef in charge of the typical local menu, Chef Gilbert shows me how to make the perfect gluten free Tom Kha Gai, a delicious chicken soup in coconut milk whose recipe you’ll find at the end of this post.

Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui

Chef Tao is one you can definitely trust when it comes to Thai food: he learned to crush chilies and coriander roots at 10 years old from his mom and at 17 he was flipping pans at cooking school in Bangkok, where he then started working for the Sheraton hotel.

After four and a half years as the head of Thai cooking at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai, Tao came back to his mother land, making the guests happy at the Intercontinental Ko Samui, where he accommodates even the most demanding visitors (like yours truly) preparing gluten free versions of the Thai originals, that, just like our Tom Kha Gai, still taste amazing and are suitable for those who are dairy intolerant or following the Auto Immune Protocol.

Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui

But before we start cooking and since I have the chance to chat with two world class chefs, I want to pick their brain on the most delicious foods they came across during their international experience.

What is you favorite INGREDIENT from:


  • Chef Gilbert: “Muamba (also called Moamba or Mwambe), a sauce made with red palm oil derived from the fruit (not the seed) of the African Oil Palm and that is used in stews and to season chicken”.


  • Chef Gilbert: “Goose liver, duck and water mushrooms. I also love fresh mussels, lobster and oyster… but we import all of them from France here at the Intercontinental Ko Samui, so I get to cook with these ingredients a lot”.


  • Chef Gilbert: “Green and red curry pastes. In France you can only find them if you shop at Lafayette in Paris”.
  • Chef Tao: “Thai Eggplant, Thai Basil and Tofu.” 


  • Chef Gilbert: “All the spices and chilies from the Arabic cuisine in Bahrain”.
  • Chef Tao: “Cumin and Coriander Seeds.”
Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui

What is your favorite DISH you’d take with you from:


  • Chef Gilbert: “Liboke, a Congolese words that indicates packets of food, especially fish, cooked and wrapped in banana leaves. Traditionally these dishes were cooked in an underground oven”.


  • Chef Gilbert: “Bouillabaisse, a typical spicy fish stew originally from Marseilles. I included that dish in the menu at Flames, our beach restaurant, as well Moules Mariniere, mussles cooked in a sauce made with white wine, cream, celery and lemon”.


  • Chef Gilbert: “Duck Red Curry, which, here at the Intercontinental Ko Samui, we cook with litchi and pineapple and has a delicious taste!”
  • Chef Tao: “Pad Thai and Tom Yum Kun, a soup with shrimp, chilies and chicken and prawn stock.” 


  • Chef Gilbert: “Libanese Food and Biryani.”
  • Chef Tao: “Chicken Masala, a dish I learned to cook from my Indian friend and colleague at the Ritz Carlton. 40% of the population in Dubai is made up of Indian people and this influence is largely perceivable in the local cuisine”.
Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui

Now that talking about all these delicious, eclectic foods made us hungry enough, let’s get to the actual coking!

This easy gluten free Tom Kha Gai soup contains all the most amazing flavors of Thailand, it only takes 10 minutes to make and it’s absolutely suitable for people with food allergies or that are following special diets! You will love it!

Gluten Free Tom Kha Gai (Paleo, Dairy Free, AIP)

Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui





No. of


  • 150 gr Free Range Chicken Breast (boneless and skinless)
  • 250 ml Coconut Milk (canned)
  • 100 gr Straw Mushrooms (replaceable with Champignon mushrooms)
  • 30 gr Galangal, sliced (replace with Ginger if you can’t find it)
  • 30 gr Shallot, sliced
  • 1 stalk Lemongrass, sliced (omit if you can’t find)
  • 2 Kaffir Lime Leaves, broken (omit if you can’t find)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ Lime (juiced)
  • 1 Coriander Root, crushed (omit if you can’t find)
  • 2 tbsp AIP Fish Sauce (replaceable with Coconut Aminos if you don’t like the taste)
  • 10 gr Palm Sugar (replaceable with Coconut Sugar) (avoid if on the AIP)
  1. Heat up a large pot, crush the coriander root and put in the pot together with the coconut milk.
  2. Add in the lemongrass, galangal, shallot, kaffir lime leaves and boil for 7 minutes.
  3. Add in the salt, mushrooms and the chicken cut in bite sized pieces and boil for 6 more minutes.
  4. Remove the pot from the heat, squeeze in the fresh lime (adding it while it boils would turn the dish bitter) and serve.
  5. To decorate, top your gluten free Tom Kha Gai with a sprig of Coriander Leaves and a couple slices of chili.

I hope you loved this interview and I am sure you’ll love the recipe for Chef Negro’s Gluten Free Tom Kha Gai even more! Head over to an Asian supermarket, get some flavors from Thailand and don’t forget to let me know how this dish came out by leaving a comment below. …

Sawasdee Kha! Ambra

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Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui
Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui
Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui
Allergy Free Tom Kha Gai from the Chefs at Intercontinental Ko Samui

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Ambra Torelli
Born and raised in Italy, Ambra visited over 20 countries and now she divides her time in between Italy and the US, where her husband is from and where she moved in 2011 work as university professor of Italian Literature. She writes about food, travel and things that inspire her! more about ambra

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  • Rosie P October 21, 2016 6:28 am

    Ambra, this is such a fantastic recipe!! I love Tom Kha soup and it’s great to know it can be done without dairy and nightshades!!

    • ambra October 21, 2016 6:34 am

      Thanks Rosie!!
      It was such a relief for me too as I love Thai food and it would have been such a bummer to go to Thailand without enjoying any of the local specialties…

  • Laura October 21, 2016 6:30 am

    Thanks for a great recipe! The chefs you interviewed for sure know what’s up when it comes to Thai food ! 😉
    I guess I can use the exact same recipe with shrimp?

    • ambra October 21, 2016 6:35 am

      Thanks dear. Yeas, you can use the same recipe to make a Thai soup with shrimp or tofu. Let me know how it comes out!!

  • Bree Houston October 21, 2016 6:33 am

    Oh, that’s so good there’s still some Thai food I can enjoy even while I am on the AIP!!
    And, by the way, I saw the resort you stayed at on your social media and it looked immaculate!!
    Would love to go there one day!!

    • ambra October 21, 2016 6:36 am

      Bree, it was such a lovely place we never wanted to leave!! And the food… I ate so well everyday!!!

  • irene October 22, 2016 7:36 pm

    Wow!so far,this is your best trip recipe post?

    • ambra October 23, 2016 6:09 am

      Irene, thanks so much for the awesome feedback dear! I am so glad you liked this!! What is it that you loved so much about it? The interview part? The fact that chefs were involved?
      Let me know so I can keep the structure for next time!! ?

  • InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort October 26, 2016 12:15 pm

    Thanks for the lovely review, Khun Ambra. We’re glad you enjoyed the cooking class and a day in the #InterContinentalLife.

    • ambra October 27, 2016 4:25 pm

      Thanks so much for having us guys!! We really had the best time and will remember this as a dream vacation! Can’t wait to come back!!

  • ornella ruffini October 29, 2016 7:37 pm

    Una ricetta fantastica dagli ingredienti alla preparazione, da fare al più presto! Complimenti a te ed ai cuochi 🙂

    • ambra October 30, 2016 2:15 pm

      Grazie mille!! Mi fa piacere che ti sia piaciuta! Questa é davvero una ricetta da provare!

  • Sylph November 4, 2016 8:48 pm

    Such a nice interview. Love the recipe, thanks for the share.

    • ambra November 5, 2016 12:02 am

      Thanks so much for the lovely feedback Sylph! It was so much fun to chat with them about all of their amazing food experiences! 🙂

  • valerie aronson April 30, 2018 7:35 pm

    So enjoyed this entire read. Thank you for the beautiful pix and the interesting stories behind it all…and of course, the food!!

    • ambra May 1, 2018 6:51 am

      So glad you enjoyed This is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to and the food was incredible!!

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