Spicy Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup

Spicy Thai Chicken and Coconut SoupCoconuts are becoming more and more en vogue, with coconut oil being used as beauty products, as well as for cooking.  Coconut flour is a great substitute for all-purpose flour in specialized gluten-free diets. Coconut water is being lauded for it’s health benefits, dubbed by marketers as “Mother Nature’s sports drink”.  Not to mention coconut milk and flaked coconut.  I guess since my favorite candybar is a Mounds bar, it’s no surprise that my blog is full of coconut recipes.There are two reasons I go to Thai restaurants–coconut soup and drunken noodles.  I love the rest of the food, but without these two items on the menu, I just feel like I would rather choose to dine at another Thai restaurant.  I love this soup that much.

The first time I made it, it lacked something…I did not feel that recipe was blog-worthy.  Then I tried it again, adding a few things from this recipe and some from that recipe, and holy moly, did I hit it right on! I really need to get this recipe documented here, because it’s a keeper!

I found most of the ingredients at my local Asian market.  The Asian market sells tamarind paste in a jar, but since I didn’t need that much I found this small pouch of tamarind paste at my local Mexican market. It’s a market I frequent at least once a week.

Tamarind PasteI must admit that when I read about smashing the lemongrass, I did not know what that meant, so I watched this video and it became very clear to me.  The smashing part is at about the 1:40 mark.

I thought I would make a cheesecloth bouquet garni for the lemongrass, ginger and lime leaves.  After the fact, I decided that adding the red chiles to the bouquet garni might be a good idea, just in case someone got a spoonful of those extremely potent little bursts of heat.  For my first try at making this soup, I went fishing and picked them all out.  Just securely wrap the ingredients in the cheesecloth, tie it up with twine and drop into the soup.  When you’re all done, just pull it out and discard it.

Boquet GarniThe lime leaves came in a large quantity, as well as the Thai chiles, but were very affordable.  I am drying the Thai chiles to use at a later time.  The lime leaves, I turned into tea.  I just boiled them in water, allowed them to steep for about 15 minutes, added a bit of sweetener and chilled the tea in the refrigerator in a tall pitcher.  Wow!  So refreshing!

Spicy Thai Chicken and Coconut Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons of lime juice (about 1 large lime)
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (store-bought or saved from cooking the breasts)
  • 1 can vegetable broth
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bottom third only, peeled, smashed and cut into 2" pieces
  • 3-4 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 piece of peeled fresh ginger (about 1" cut into thirds)
  • 1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
  • ½ cup long-grain rice (optional)
  • 1 15-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 fresh red Thai chiles, seeded and ribs removed, cut crosswise into think slices (or you can substitute 2 jalapeno peppers)
  • 1 6.5-oz. can mushroom stems and pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges for serving
  1. In a large saucepan, boil 5 cups water. Add chicken breast, garlic and salt. Bring to a simmer. Cover and continue simmering until chicken is cooked, about 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool. Remove and discard garlic cloves. Remove chicken breast and shred or cut into bite-sized cubes. Place chicken in a medium glass dish or stainless-steel pan. Combine the fish sauce and lime juice and pour over chicken to marinade.
  2. Measure 4 cups of chicken broth and return to saucepan. Add vegetable broth, lemongrass, ginger, tamarind paste and rice to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the mushrooms, chicken and marinade and cook until the chicken is warmed through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chiles and cilantro.

 Et cetera:  This recipe is a compilation of several recipes and experiments.

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