Thai Chicken Soup

Thai Chicken Soup

It was going to be a very cold New Year’s Eve – and hot soup and home-made bread were going to be the perfect foil.

JFI for this month is featuring the coconut, and I did want to make something specifically for the event. Thai soup with a coconut milk base seemed like the perfect solution. Except that, as mentioned earlier, TH has no taste for fish sauce. So I was going to have to make two versions: one (the real McCoy) with and one without the fish sauce. And since it was going to be so, there was no reason why the first one should not have some chicken as well.

It is a real quick soup to make. Depending where you live, you may need to plan the grocery shopping a little bit. I can find everything under the sun at the INA market in New Delhi. If you cannot find kaffir lime leaves you may use other lime/lemon leaves or use lemon zest. Fish sauce is not optional, but if you have religious reasons (or strong dislike of ‘strange’ smells, like TH), use plain salt instead. Just don’t call it Thai soup, in that case.

The soup is so very aromatic and spicy: the tang of the lemon, the fragrant lemon leaves and lemon grass combine with the spicy-ness of galangal and peppercorns, and the sweetness of the coconut to provide the perfect warmth you need on a cold winter evening. Served with a crisp salad and toasted and generously buttered home-made brown bread, it was a happy welcome to the New Year.

Thai Chicken Soup
(adapted from The Ultimate Chinese and Asian Cookbook, edited by Linda Doeser)
3 cups coconut milk (extracted from 2 C of grated coconut)
3 C water or stock
8” stalk of lemon grass, bruised and chopped
1’ piece of galangal, sliced thin
10 black peppercorns , crushed
10 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 C thin strips of chicken
1/2 C cooked brown rice Goan or Kerala red rice (optional)
juice of half a lemon
4 T fish sauce
chopped spring onions and coriander, to garnish

Bring the water or stock to boil. Add the lemon grass, galangal, peppercorns and half of the kaffir lime leaves. Simmer gently for 10 min. Drain and throw the aromatics that have done their job. Return to heat and add the coconut milk, the chicken and the cooked brown rice. Sliced mushrooms and baby corn are also ideal to be included in this soup (but I didn’t have any that day). Cook for a few minutes till the chicken is cooked. Stir in the lemon juice, fish sauce, and remaining kaffir lime leaves. Garnish with sliced red chillies, spring onions and coriander.

TH didn’t care much for his vegetarian ‘version’ – it reminded him of Odomos. Mosquito repellant! The gall! No ‘special’ Thai soup for him. Ever. In all fairness though, Odomos does use Citronella as an active ingredient! 🙂

And I kept the left-over soup in the fridge content in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to have to share it with anyone!

Over to Ashwini, who is hosting the Coconut-JFI this month.

9 thoughts on “Thai Chicken Soup

  1. Hee hee….odomos? Thank god you are submitting the ‘other’ version for JFI 😀
    Thanks for making it in time Anita. Cheers & happy new year
    Both used lemon grass…but I thought it smelled Thai… 🙂

  2. ola,
    just dropped in to wish you happy new year, am in india so not really catching up with blogs..enjoying good ol roadside indian food that noone can imitate ever!
    So true! Indulge! And a Happy New Year to you, Disha.

  3. You have been tagged. Check my blog for details.
    Lakshmik: I tried to leave a comment on your blog earlier to ask if that was your first time cooking with dill…I can never remember my Google account details and I couldn’t post! I’ll check on the ‘meme’…

  4. Ha ha! Odomos! 🙂 And you feel pretty strongly about fish sauce, huh? I agree with you. Fish sauce and oyster sauce makes a lot of differnce to the taste.
    Good one, Annita! Love the picture.

  5. Wow!!! this is nice!!!1 I always love this soup (The veg version) at my favourite thai restaurant!!!! I think they call is tom kahn. So now I even know how to make it 🙂

  6. Luuuuuuuuuuv Thom Kha Gai… 🙂 For really truly authentic use only chicken legs to make this… Odomos eh? Citronella…that’s the essential oil of lemongrass methinks…I make this at home, but it does bring back memories of Los Angeles and a Thai delivery we called nightly for this soup, among other delights!

    Odomos is a very old, herbal mosquito repellent popular in India.
    And you make Citronella at home!!?? How many hours in your day, now?

  7. oh lordy no! The soup I mean! ha ha! It’s my fault for not proofreading before I clicked…
    However…when I was a youngin(young one)(gosh I sound like I have one foot in the funeral pyre), I DID attempt apple blossom oil(by maceration), but the supply of blossoms ran out…. 😦 such beauty is fleeting.

    And I tried making Jasmine oil that way once (when I was a youngin!) – gave up. Better to buy attar.

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