Thai Chicken Coconut Soup: yes you can make soup out of coconuts

I’m always curious to try new flavors and intriguing dishes. I was inspired to try this recipe while watching Cutthroat Kitchen. This December, like most other Decembers, my family and I flew to Colorado during winter break. It wasn’t a very exiting trip thought. Usually we spend the week skiing on the slopes and enjoying the fresh, crisp air. This year, however, I was struck by the flu. So instead of racing down snow covered mountains, I was stuck at our hotel where I spent the time watching TV, and quite often found myself stuck on the Food Network. On one of the episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen, the chiefs were asked to make a Thai Coconut Soup. I decided that I would also try and make my own coconut soup. I wanted to know what this soup would taste like and what better way to find out than to make it yourself. I adapted this recipe from Food and Wine. This soup is relatively easy to make. It doesn’t take much time or preparation. Just dump the ingredients into your saucepan and let simmer. Well, it’s almost that simple.

First thing first, start by marinating your chicken. I swapped chicken breast for some chicken thighs instead. The thighs are softer and I was getting bored of chicken breast. Cut the chicken into thin strips, then coat it in lime juice and fish sauce. I couldn’t find any fish sauce, so I used some oyster sauce instead. (It was the only thing similar that I could find in the store). If you can’t find either of those, the fish sauce can be substituted with some soy sauce.

Now, let’s prepare the ginger and lemongrass. Peel and slice the ginger into several pieces.

For the lemongrass, start by cutting off the top and bottom. Use the handle of you knife to smash the lemongrass, releasing the essential oils. Peel off the first layer and discard. Cut the remaining lemongrass into several strips.

This is a great video that shows you how to prepare the lemongrass if you need a visual.

 

Throw the ginger and lemongrass into your pot and fill with the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer.

Rinse the rice before adding it to the broth mixture. Simmer until the rice is almost done. This should take about fifteen minutes.

Here is where the coconut milk comes in. Pour it into the broth and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Don’t be afraid when you open the can of coconut milk and find a thick solid layer. This is just the milk that has solidified sort of like a cream. The milk itself will be right underneath the solid layer. Add both of these things into your soup for a nice rich favor. I followed the recipe’s recommendation and uses full fat coconut milk. If I did this soup again, I would switch it out for low fat coconut milk. The full fat was a little too heavy for me in the end result.

Stir in the marinated chicken along with all those flavorful marinade juices.

Prepare the chilies or jalapeño (as you can see, I opted for the jalapeño here) by cutting them in half and removing the seeds. Then slice the pepper into thin strips and add to the soup.

Chop your cilantro and stir that into the soup as well. Now go ahead and taste the creamy goodness. I found the result to be a little bland at first. But, no worries, I combined some soy sauce, salt, pepper, and extra lime juice into the soup and… voilà! Perfection.

The combinations of the zesty lemongrass and ginger with the creamy coconut milk and spicy peppers makes a lovely melody of flavors that balance each other perfectly. Serve the soup warm, topped with cilantro and a lime wedge. The soups should last refrigerated for up to a week. And, most importantly, enjoy!

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 2 1/2-by-1/4-inch strips
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce or oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 quart plus 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into thirds
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 fresh red chilies or jalapeño peppers
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a medium glass dish or stainless-steel pan, combine the chicken strips with the fish sauce and lime juice. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the broth, lemongrass, and ginger to a simmer.
  3. Add the rice; simmer until the rice is almost done, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Stir in the chicken and marinade and cook until the chicken is just done, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the chilies and cilantro. Then season with soy sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.

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