Prep Time: 18 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: MAKES 3-4 Servings
- 6 cups good-quality (strong) chicken stock
- 1-2 boneless chicken breasts or 3-4 thighs, sliced, OR 1-2 cups roasted chicken or turkey
- 1 fresh lemongrass stalk, OR 2 Tbsp. frozen/bottled prepared lemongrass
- 4 kaffir limes leaves (fresh, frozen, or dried) OR substitute 1 tsp. lime zest
- 6-8 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced
- 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 fresh red or green chilies, finely sliced, OR substitute 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili (chili flakes)
- 1 tomato, chopped into wedges or chunks
- optional: 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1/2 to 1 can good-quality (thick) coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. sugar, to taste
- 3 spring (green) onions, sliced
- handful fresh coriander and/or basil
- Place chicken stock in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. If you have leftover chicken or turkey bones, add those too.
- Add the lemongrass and bring to a boil. If using fresh lemongrass, slice and mince only the lower half of the stalk, then slice upper half into 3-4 inch segments and add to the soup pot.
- Add fresh chicken (or leftover chicken or turkey), kaffir lime leaves/lime zest, galangal or ginger, garlic, chili, plus mushrooms and celery. Bring soup back up to boiling then reduce to medium heat, simmering 6-8 minutes, or until chicken is cooked.
- Add tomatoes and bell pepper (if using) and simmer 2 more minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and add coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice and sugar. Simmer gently 1-2 minutes while you taste-test the soup. Tip: Look for a balance between spicy, sour, salty, and sweet flavors. Start with salty, adding more fish sauce if not salty or flavorful enough. If too salty or sweet, add more lime juice. If too sour, add more sugar. If too spicy, or if you'd like it creamier, add more coconut milk. If not spicy enough, add more chili.
- Ladle soup into serving bowls. Sprinkle over a little fresh coriander or basil, plus spring onions. For an extra kick of flavor, add a dollop of either store-bought or my own homemade Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce or other Thai chili sauce of your choice, and ENJOY!
*Tip: This soup is also delicious served with noodles, either rice noodles or wheat/egg noodles. However, I find it best to boil them separately, otherwise the soup becomes too thick (due to the starch from the noodles). Also, your leftovers will taste better this way. Enjoy!