Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Total Time:
45 min
15 min
30 min

8 servings

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, fresh or dried, hand torn
  • 2 small Thai chiles, halved lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • One 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 4 chunks
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (white part only), cracked open with the flat side of a knife
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • One 13-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • One 8-ounce can straw mushrooms, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce ( nam pla)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Chicken Stock:
  • 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 large white onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, halved
  • 1 turnip, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Bring the stock to a boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lime leaves, chiles, garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Lower the heat to medium-low; cover the pot and gently simmer to let the spices infuse the broth, about 10 minutes.

Uncover the pot and stir in the chicken, coconut milk, mushrooms, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Simmer to heat the chicken through, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into a soup tureen or individual serving bowls. Garnish with the cilantro. Be careful to avoid chewing the lemongrass, ginger or lime leaves.

Cook's Note: Lemongrass imparts a delicate citrusy flavor and aroma, but if you can't find lemongrass, use equal parts lemon peel and ginger. Kaffir lime is gently limey with lots of aroma, but you can substitute lime peel if you can't find it.

Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 2 quarts stock

From Food Network Kitchens; after further testing and to ensure the best results this recipe has been altered from what was in the actual episode.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.4 74
So tasty! Exactly like I get at a favorite Thai Restaurant. I was looking to replicate the recipe from the restaurant & that's exactly what I got. Tyler's flavor profile is always right on. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I don't know what I did wrong. It smelled and tasted fantastic along the cooking process but once I added the fish sauce it smelled horrible (I bought a high grade Thai fish sauce at local Asian market). The taste was OK but it was just too hard to get past the horrible smell. Didn't smell or taste anything like the soup that I get from the local Thai restaurant around the corner. My family all left the house because they thought the smell was so disgusting. Burning incense and opening all the doors in January to try to get the smell out of my house. item not reviewed by moderator and published
the chicken throws off the Thai taste of this type of soup..... chicken doesn't belong in this item not reviewed by moderator and published
VERY Yummy!!!!! I have made it twice in the last two weeks. My husband loves it and my pregnant coworker does too! I actually love the lime taste. I used chicken bullion cubes and it still tasted as good as a Thai restaurant. Highly recommend! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Way too much lime, the soup was overly tart. I tried to save it by adding another tablespoon of sugar, and more stock....but unfortunately it couldn't be saved. Luckily I didn't bother with the from scratch stock, so there weren't many ingredients to waste in it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
absolutely delicious. cut the lime, added more lemongrass, used brown sugar instead of white and served with jasmine rice. AMAZING!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is really good, but it lacked the punch of flavor I found at my favorite Thai restaurant which has sadly closed. The proper name for this soup is <b>Tom Kha Gai</b> which literally translates to Chicken Galangal Soup. Galangal is a root in the same family as ginger, but it tastes very different. So I suggest getting that at an Asian market in lieu of ginger. I also suggest halving the lime juice, doubling the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, and adding a bit more sugar to taste. If you need more heat just add a little Sriracha sauce or other chili paste. I was able to find all the exotic ingredients at Whole Foods. If you must use substitutes try these: Galangal root ≈ Ginger root 10 Kaffir lime leaves ≈ 5 Bay leaves, zest of 2 limes Thai chilies ≈ Sriracha sauce or another chili pepper, ½ tsp at a time 1 ½ Tbsp Palm sugar ≈ 2 tsp Brown sugar 3 shallots ≈ 2 cloves garlic, 1/2 red onion Mushrooms ≈ Any <i>fresh</i> mushrooms—<i>no dried!</i>—except for shitakes item not reviewed by moderator and published
Amazing!! I followed others' advice &amp; used 2 limes and subbed basil for kefir lime leaves. I also added bamboo shoots. Next time I'm going to cut 2 Roma tomatoes in eighths &amp; add those at the end since I've seen that in restaurants &amp; it would add some color to this otherwise white soup. Other substitutions I had to make included carton chicken stock &amp; lemongrass paste from a tube (used a few tsps. My husband loved it &amp; said make this anytime!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This soup is easy &amp; fabulous. I buy cooked rot chick at store &amp; shred; cuts out a step. I serve with frozen dumplings from Asian market. All of my guest enjoy as well &amp; ask for recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've made this several times now, and it NEVER fails me! Abolutely YUMMY every time. I add extra garlic and ginger-we like it spicey. So easy and delicious! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Agreed 100% item not reviewed by moderator and published
Bummer, did the fish sauce smell bad before you added it to the soup? Different fish sauces smell and taste differently, so you should give it another go with a different brand. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I suppose if you knew anything about Thai food you would not have posted this item not reviewed by moderator and published

This recipe is featured in:

Potluck Parties