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Thai Coconut Chicken Soup recipe

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup recipe

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  • Recipes
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  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
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Chicken and ginger are simmered in coconut milk, to create a deliciously rich soup. Garnish with red chillies and coriander leaves.

50 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 750ml coconut milk
  • 475ml water
  • 225g skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets, cut into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped root ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or to taste
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sliced spring onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:25min

  1. Pour the coconut milk and water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the chicken strips and reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 3 minutes, just until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the ginger, fish sauce and lime juice. Sprinkle in the spring onions and coriander and serve.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(51)

Reviews in English (43)

I made this soup ,substituted the chicken for uncooked prawns , amazing ,with just a bit of added red chilli for a bit of heat great !!!!-22 Jun 2013

I was suspicious of this recipe from the start - how coconut milk and water could make a 'creamy' soup I didn't know. But I went along with it to the letter of the recipe. Ingredients cost just under £8 sterling and the result was a watery and tastless waste of money and time. Sorry!PS . four days later. I've come back to eat my words (and the soup!). I left it in the fridge for 24 hours and lo and behold, the consistency and taste had improved immeasurably. Next time I'll use chicken stock in place of the water and improve it even more..-21 Apr 2017

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  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 3 cups Thai Kitchen® Gluten Free Unsweetened Coconut CreamSubstitutions available

Key Products

Thai-Inspired Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

Ingredients US Metric

  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste or curry powder
  • Six 1/8-inch-thick slices galangal or ginger, not peeled
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, dried or fresh
  • 4 cups rich chicken stock (see note above), homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms
  • One (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons nam pla or nuoc mam (Asian fish sauce)
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and minced on the diagonal
  • 1/4 cup minced cilantro


Trim the lemongrass of its outer sheath and its tough ends. Whack the stalk in a few places with the back of a knife to smash it and then cut it into 2 or 3 pieces.

In a large skillet or medium saucepan, combine the oil, onion, and garlic and turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Then add the lemongrass, curry paste, galangal or ginger, and lime leaves. Cook, stirring, for 3 or 4 minutes, then add the stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and cook at a moderate boil for about 15 minutes. (You can cool, cover, and refrigerate the soup base for up to 2 days.)

While the broth cooks, cut the chicken breast into 1/2- to 3/4-inch chunks. Remove the stems from the shiitakes and discard or reserve for stock. Cut the caps into quarters or eighths.

Add the coconut milk, chicken, and mushrooms to the broth. Simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the lime juice and nam pla and taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the soup among 4 bowls and garnish with the scallions and cilantro and serve. You may remove the galangal and lemongrass before serving, or leave them in they are delicious to gnaw on at the table. Originally published September 17, 1998.

The Fatty Daddy Challenge Variation

This is David here, and I want to share with you my tweaks to this Thai chicken soup recipe in case, like me, you’re looking to save calories wherever you can. I call it The Fatty Daddy Challenge version of this recipe, and in it I use non-fat chicken stock in place of the rich chicken stock and shrimp in place of chicken. You’ll be coming in at just 9 Weight Watchers PointsPlus. Which is awesome in my book. (I made a few other adjustments to the recipe, which I explain in the David Says below, and I gotta say, it was phenomenal.)

David Says

I was looking for an easy-to-make recipe that would be enticing to both me and The One, low in calories for me, as well as healthful for The One (he's come down with a bad cold, and I figured the ginger and lemongrass in this recipe would be a nice antidote). But I couldn't leave well enough alone. Instead of chicken, I used 1 pound Gulf shrimp. I also substituted homemade shrimp stock for the rich chicken stock called for in the recipe. (I had a bunch of shells and shrimp heads in the freezer, so I just dumped them in a stock pot with water to cover and slowly reduced it to 4 cups. I then drained the stock through a fine sieve lined with paper towel.) I added a few squirts of Sriracha sauce for heat and served it pronto. It was mind-blowingly fantastic. So flavorful. Luckily I made a double batch, so I have more to eat tomorrow. Oh, yeah, and if there's any left, I can continue to nurse you-know-who back to health.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This Thai coconut chicken soup is an absolutely delicious recipe that boasts intense flavor that belies the short cooking time. I found it needed a quick shake of salt to make the flavors pop, and I would recommend using salt and not more fish sauce as the soup’s taste was very well balanced.

Also, my soup wasn't the prettiest color but the taste kept you from caring what it looked like!

This Thai coconut chicken soup was delightful. It packed a punch but was delicate at the same time. All of the ingredients from the mushrooms to the ginger to the lemongrass and cilantro created a flavorful broth that was light but filling.

I'd be careful with the fish sauce—I wouldn't add any more than the recipe calls for as everything has a perfect balance. This would be the best soup to make when you or a family member has a cold!

This Thai coconut chicken soup is easy to make and doesn't take much time yet is full of flavor. I had to omit the lime leaves as I was not able to find them anywhere around here. The final taste is very delicate, refreshing, and extremely tasty. My toddler absolutely devoured it.

I added a little white rice that we had leftover and it was perfect for the four of us as a main meal. Everyone asked me to make it again in the near future.

Lemongrass, ginger, and lime leaves may be the holy trinity of Thai soups, and once you realize how easily this broth comes together, you'll be making this as often as you can remember to have the ingredients on hand! It's weeknight-friendly in timing—prep isn't much more than the cooking time and you could have this on the table in an hour, especially if you have a helper.

The balance of flavors is perfect—my lime juice was perhaps generous since one of my limes was quite large and juicy (a plus!) and in combination with the fish sauce it blended nicely. I misread the amount of red curry paste, carefully and accurately measuring 2 tablespoons. I realized my error after dinner, as I was thinking you could increase the red curry paste 50% to even as much as 3 tablespoons. Maybe if your curry paste is mild, you'll also want to up the amount to taste. The broth will take on a pretty coral tint, more resembling versions you may have had in Thai restaurants. The chicken does indeed cook in 5 minutes, and is tender. My shiitake mushrooms were already stemmed and sliced, rather than quartered, and worked fine. We had 2 servings for dinner, and reheated it for lunch again the next day—it was still excellent. I'm so impressed with how well these ingredients came together that I can see making this again, maybe using shrimp if it's on hand.

I think this Tom Kha Gai has replaced Tom Yum as my favorite Thai soup and is just as easy as making Hot and Sour soup at home (I usually make Mama Chang’s.)

This is a fantastic soup! It's light, bright and flavorful. Although it could be a meal in itself (served with naan), it would also be a great starter. It was really simple to make, it just fell right into place!

This type of recipe is great and even though it seems like a lot of ingredients, it all comes together really quickly. The trick would be to mise-en-place.


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I was so looking forward and excited about making this soup! But it did not deliver. I followed the recipe to a tee with all the ingredients but something came across in a mild soapy taste…not good! I even made homemade chicken stock!! I am wondering if something was not right with the coconut milk? What brand did you use. I use Thai brand. Any thoughts.

Brenda, I think you’re the victim of genetics! Some people are genetically predisposed to having a soapy aftertaste when eating raw cilantro. This article describes the phenomenon.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

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I am an accomplished Thai cuisine cook and an up and coming authentic Chinese cook. I lived in Bangkok Thailand for over 5 years so I am very familiar with how they cook, how dishes should taste, and how to recognize the best ingredients. I’ll be posting Thai dishes here for the most part, but some will be off that path.

This is my recipe for Thai coconut chicken soup like you’d get in a Thai restaurant. I grew up in Thailand and we had maids that would prepare our meals. They showed me how to make this soup and here is the recipe:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1-inch piece ginger, sliced into rounds
  • 1 Teaspoon red curry paste or 2 tsp. Sriracha sauce
  • 4 Cups chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 Ounces thin rice noodles or zucchini “noodles”
  • 2 limes, juiced, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 Cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Sriracha sauce, for serving

Thinly slice the chicken breasts crosswise into strips.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and red pepper.

Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Add the garlic, ginger and curry paste and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the chicken broth, coconut milk and brown sugar.

Cover and bring to a boil.

Add the chicken and simmer until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.

The chicken is done when it feels firm to the touch and a meat thermometer inserted in the center reaches 170°F. (If using rice noodles, add the noodles and simmer uncovered until the noodles are al dente, about 5 minutes.)

Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice, cilantro and zucchini noodles (if using).

  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, (see Note)
  • 6 coin-size slices fresh ginger, unpeeled
  • 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 fresh chile peppers, such as serrano or jalape&#241o
  • 2 14-ounce cans reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice, plus 4 thin lime slices for garnish
  • 1-2 teaspoons fish sauce, or reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 scallions, trimmed and sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves

Trim lemongrass stalks of root ends, outer leaves and grassy tops. Cut into 2-inch lengths. Smash each piece with the flat of a chef's knife. Crush ginger and garlic (do not peel) with the knife. Trim stems from chiles, cut in half lengthwise and smash (for maximum heat do not remove the seeds).

Place the crushed lemongrass, garlic, ginger and chiles in a wide pan and pour in broth. Bring to a simmer, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.

Add chicken breasts to the broth. Cover and simmer gently over low heat just until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. With tongs, transfer the chicken to a cutting board and set aside.

Bring the broth to a lively boil and boil for about 5 minutes to intensify the flavors. Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing on the solids to extract all the juices. Stir in coconut milk and heat through over medium heat.

Stir together cornstarch, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon fish sauce (or soy sauce) in a small bowl. Add to the soup and cook, stirring, until simmering and slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Thinly slice the poached chicken and add to the soup. Season with additional lime juice and fish sauce (or soy sauce) to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and float a lime slice, some scallions and cilantro leaves in each one.

Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Ingredient Note: Lemongrass is an aromatic tropical grass used to add a pungent, lemony flavor to Asian dishes. It is available fresh at large supermarkets and Asian groceries.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Step by step photos

We will start with the cooking the chicken.

  1. Gather all your for the thai soup recipe ingredients and have them ready: mushrooms, coconut milk, salt, fish sauce, Thai red curry paste, chicken, chopped lemongrass, minced ginger, cilantro and chicken broth.
  2. Have your chicken breasts split width wise for fast cooking and easy shredding later. Add the chopped lemongrass.
  3. Add the minced ginger.
  4. Add the Thai red curry paste.
  5. Evenly cover the chicken with the added ingredients.
  6. Flip the chicken pieces over and when almost done add &frac13 cup water and simmer for 5 minutes. Set the chicken aside on a plate and save all the liquid to add to the soup later.

Now we will construct the soup in a soup pot and this is so easy!

  1. Add the coconut milk and chicken broth. Leave on medium heat.
  2. Add the salt.
  3. Add the cilantro.
  4. Add the mushrooms.
  5. Add the fish sauce and simmer for 20 minutes on medium.
  6. When the chicken has cooled, shred it into small pieces with 2 forks.
  7. Add the shredded chicken to the soup pot and also the reserved liquid from cooking the chicken.
  8. Simmer for a few minutes and serve. Enjoy!

  • 1 pound chicken breast, cut into small chunks (you can use any kind of chicken you have on hand)
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded chard or other greens
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 lemon or lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon of red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your heat tolerance -- omit if autoimmune)
  • 1 can coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 1 quart chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • Sea salt to taste
  1. In a large stockpot, cook the chicken in a little coconut oil. Cook until the chicken starts to brown and is cooked through.
  2. Add the chopped Vidalia onion, carrots and garlic.
  3. Sauté for 4-5 minutes and then add the ginger and chicken broth.
  4. Bring the soup to a low boil and let it simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
  5. Add the chopped chard, cilantro, lemon juice, green onions and coconut milk.
  6. Continue cooking for about 10 more minutes.
  7. Check for salt and adjust accordingly. Now, you're ready to serve.
  8. This recipe freezes well, so you can make an extra big batch and then store it for later!
  9. Note: Feel free to adjust the ginger and red pepper flakes to taste. I find that I like a lot of ginger and pepper in mine, so when I make it, I probably end up with closer to two tablespoons of ginger and 1 tablespoon of red pepper. If you want it a little less strong, just cut back those two ingredients.

How To Make: Thai Coconut, Corn and Chicken Soup

by Irene Muller

How To Make: Thai Coconut, Corn and Chicken Soup. Image credit: AdobeStock


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This tasty coconut, corn and chicken soup is packed to the max with fresh ingredients, such as lemongrass, leeks, lime, ginger, garlic and chillies, for a delicious Thai twist. This soup brings back memories of the epic Tom Kha Gai soup served in Thai restaurants.

The creamy combination of coconut milk, corn and chicken is a match made in heaven. It just works. Soul food deluxe…

Authentic Thai food relies upon the careful balance of sweet, salty, spicy and sour which is achieved with this coconut, corn and chicken soup recipe guaranteed to give your immune system a boost and chase the winter chill away!

The sweetness of the corn and the sugar is balanced by the fresh lime juice that’s added at the end. Stir in some red chillies before serving or “be kind” and serve the chillies on the side, so your guests can decide for themselves just how hot and spicy they want their soup to be.

The recipe uses diced chicken breasts, but if you need to cut down on time, you could use rotisserie chicken or some leftover roasted/grilled chicken breasts or thighs.

Whenever you make a recipe that makes use of coconut milk, you need to stir it gently. If you stir coconut milk too fast and rough, it might clump or curdle, similar to the way cream or milk does when you boil it.


Watch the cooking video on this page for step-by-step guide.

If you can't find galangal and kaffir lime leaves (they are hard to find unless you go to a good Asian store), you can use lemongrass and skip the two ingredients. Lemongrass is not a substitute for both galangal and kaffir lime leaves but it will infuse the soup with its unique fragrance and aroma. If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can add all ingredients in the slow cooker (except coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro) and slow cook for 4-6 hours. Add the coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro when it's done cooking. You may also cook the soup on a stove. The steps are the same, except that you use a regular soup pot to cook. You may want to slowly simmer the chicken soup for about 15-20 minutes before you add the coconut milk, lime juice and cilantro.


  1. Dorion

    What a phrase ... the phenomenal, magnificent idea

  2. Heywood

    I think this is a brilliant idea.

  3. Thorndike

    I think this has already been discussed, use the search on the forum.

  4. Taudal

    Funny question

  5. Pista

    Well done, the brilliant idea

  6. Isra'il

    Better late than never.

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