December 11, 2014



This Thai Coconut Soup is simple yet flavorful. Coconut milk, chicken, mushrooms, ginger, lemongrass, lime juice,  sugar,  and fish sauce work in unison to provide subtle, yet sophisticated flavors.

Thai Coconut Soup
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So, I worked on this recipe to the point where I am finally confident in sharing it with the rest of the world. One of my daycare parents asked if I would make a Thai Coconut Soup for the blog. She loves it, and a place near where she works makes THE best. Naturally, I welcomed the challenge. But frankly, she is probably more knowledgable about this particular food than myself. Although I like it, I have only had the soup a couple of times, and it has been many, many moons since I had it last.

After a bit of research, consisting of sampling field trips to a couple of Thai restaurants, and after preparation of multiple test batches, I came up with a version that I think stands up to the test. The soup is unassuming yet flavorful and is very easy to make. As in many Asian soups, the broth base is the star of the dish with many layers of flavor. Ginger, lemongrass, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce are the flavoring agent for the coconut milk and chicken broth base in this soup. My version is finished off simply with thin chicken and shiitake mushroom strips. The restaurant versions I recently sampled used button mushrooms, but I personally think shiitake is a better aesthetic and textural choice for this dish. Finally, for added flavor and color, cilantro is added as a garnish. 

Thai Coconut Soup

One discovery I made during the testing of this recipe is that canned coconut milk can vary in consistency where the milk solid layer in one can may be granular while it is creamier in the next. If you open a can where the top white solid layer is granular, don't panic. It is perfectly fine to use and will not affect the taste of the soup. The finished product will not be creamy looking but will taste just great! But, to play it safe, buy an extra can of the coconut milk for backup if you want the soup to look perfect.

Thai Coconut Soup



3 lemongrass stalks
1 2-inch chunk ginger, about 1 1/2" diameter (or equivalent)
2 tsp. vegetable oil
2 can (14.5 oz.) low sodium chicken broth
2 2/3 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tsp. lime juice 
2 (13.5 oz.) cans unsweetened coconut milk
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast—flattened and sliced into 1/4"x 2" strips
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced into 1/2 strips (caps only)
12 sprigs cilantro for garnish


Peel off the outer brown, dry layer of the lemongrass, if any. Cut the top half of the lemongrass stalks and discard. Cut off and discard the bulb at the bottom. Place the usable lemongrass portions on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Using a flat mallet or a small hammer, flatten stalks. Peel and slice ginger into 3 or 4 pieces. 

Preheat a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add oil. Add lemon grass and ginger. Stir for a couple minutes. Add chicken broth and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the lemongrass and ginger with a slotted spoon or tongs.  

Add coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime juice. Increase heat to medium and allow to come to heat without coming to a full boil. Add chicken and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until chicken is cooked through. Serve with cilantro. Makes 4 servings.


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  1. I posted a Tom Kha Gai recipe this week as well. One of my favorite dishes. I live where I can buy fresh coconut milk, and that really makes a difference!

    1. My mom used to make her own coconut milk...and what a process it was. I know what you mean about the taste, a big difference. I just checked out your soup and it looks beautiful! I like all the vegetables you added to it to add more flavor and color. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This looks truly beautiful!
    And I love how adaptable it is.......tofu can be used instead of chicken etc.
    I hear ya on the coconut milk, that's why I always have so many back up cans in the cupboard. I don't know if you can find "Ayam" brand where you live, but I have found that to be the absolute best!

    1. Hi Amrita! Thank you! I know what you mean--I like shrimp, so I might use it instead of chicken next time. I don't think I have come across the Ayam brand before but will keep an eye out for it in the stores. Thanks for the tip!

  3. My hubby keeps asking me to make him a Thai style soup - any time we order out, its always Thai and we always get a soup. But lately, we have been cooking at home WAY more so it's time to go buy some coconut milk and make this soup! Thank you for sharing at #FoodieFridays!!

    1. It think I would have tried to make it sooner myself if I had known how easy it is to make. Thank you for stopping by, Jenny!

  4. We would just love your Thai Coconut Soup, it looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope you have a great week.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen