Thai Coconut Soup


19 Dec Thai Coconut Soup


The long-predicted storm has hit. Fluffy, delicate flakes are not wafting from the heavens like diamond dust making everything merry and bright. Au contraire! Tiny, razor-sharp ice crystals are thrashing about in the wind, whitewashing the great outdoors. In this weather, a jaunt for the mail morphs into a life-threatening journey.

I’m no dummy. Andrew collects the mail while I make soup.

In defiance of the weather, I made a tropical Thai soup. The coconut milk base, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and chilies are almost enough to make me forget the storm. Bright colours and a burst of citrus are the perfect antidote to this mid-winter brouhaha. Best part? In less than half an hour it’s on the table.

Take that Old Man Winter!


Thai Coconut Soup
Printable recipe

Serves 6


  • 2 to 4 red chilies (more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 2 tins (400 ml) coconut milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 stalks lemon grass, bruised and cut in 2-inch lengths
  • 1 piece galangal (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger, sliced thinly
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 12 ounces (about 2 whole) skinless, boneless chicken, cut in thin strips
  • 4 ounces button mushrooms (whole if tiny, quartered if large)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • fresh cilantro


  1. Heat a wok or saucepan until hot. Add 2 whole red chilies and cook until they just begin to turn brown. (If you can’t take any heat, omit the chilies.)
  2. Add coconut milk, stock, lemon grasss, galangal, ginger and 4 kaffir lime leaves. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the spices from the broth.
  4. Add the chicken and mushrooms. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Timing will depend on how large you made the chicken pieces.
  5. Stir in the lime juice and fish sauce.
  6. Add the remaining lime leaves and garnish with plenty of chopped cilantro. The brave can add a couple of chopped red chilies.
  7. Serve immediately.

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No Comments
  • cheryl
    Posted at 14:32h, 19 December Reply

    Hellllllllooooooo, lovely. That looks divine. Nothing like giving Old Man Winter a swift kick in the butt. Beautiful photos, too!

    Stay warm.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 16:35h, 19 December Reply

    Cheryl, I had you at “coconut”, didn’t I? Thanks for sharing your excitement. I had promised you this a while ago, and today was the perfect day.

  • Divawrites
    Posted at 18:13h, 19 December Reply

    I always wondered what that leafy thing that came with lunch was…

    now, what is galangal?

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 18:21h, 19 December Reply

    Looks fancy! Yum! I was supposed to eat at a party tonight but now I need to scrounge around for some dinner ingredients. Sigh.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 20:20h, 19 December Reply

    Diva, galangal looks almost like ginger root and is used in Asian (especially Thai) cooking. It tastes a little like ginger but can be more sour or peppery. You can usually find it at the Asian supermarkets, but you can also make the soup without it.

    Dana, I’m guessing you’re snowed in? As the author of Pantry Raid, you are more likely than I am to come up with a quick meal. Sorry you’re missing your party, but in this weather, better safe than sorry.

  • Jill U Adams
    Posted at 14:37h, 22 December Reply

    Lovely soup and very cool bowl. I may give it a try tonight. But I’ll have to substitute for those Asian ingredients that I just don’t have lying around.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 14:36h, 23 December Reply

    Jill, one trip to the Asian market and you’ll have all the ingredients you need. The lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves came in large packages but freeze well, so I’ve now plenty on hand for future use — providing my husband doesn’t throw them out. “Oh look, a bunch of old leaves! Better toss them in the garbage!”

    Andrew, if you’re reading this, let it be known, those old leaves in the freezer are lime leaves. Don’t touch them or it’s no soup for you!

  • Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer
    Posted at 19:27h, 03 January Reply

    I have a recipe that is almost exactly like your compliments of the LA times food section and I must say it is the best soup. Whenever I make it there is not a drop left!! Thanks for reminding me to revive an old friend!!

  • Jon Looi
    Posted at 20:00h, 05 January Reply

    wow…. it looks lovely….

    I love it, will try to make it for my wife to get her surprise.

    btw, I had drop you a line in your email, hope to hear from you soon.

  • Kristin
    Posted at 12:42h, 30 September Reply

    This looks so beautiful! We keep talking about how we all crave Thai food over here at Bitchin' Kitchen…I don't know if it's the cold weather coming or what…but this is the perfect recipe to start with! Plus, I was just in Thailand and ooooo I miss the food! Thanks for this rockin' recipe!
    BK Crew

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