Thai Coconut Soup


Thai Coconut Soup

We recently had dinner with friends, who served this delicious soup (or a very similar recipe), and inspired me to try this myself. Easy, simple, and light, this is a wonderful dish for a cold spring evening.

  1. 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  2. 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  3. 1 stalk lemon grass, minced
  4. 2 teaspoons red curry paste (forgot this ingredient when I made this, the soup was still great!)
  5. 4 cups chicken broth
  6. 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  7. 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  8. 3 (13.5 ounce) cans coconut milk
  9. 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (or any type of mushroom if you don’t have shiitake)
  10. 1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
  11. 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for garnish
  12. salt to taste
  13. 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook and stir the ginger, lemongrass, and curry paste in the heated oil for 1 minute. Slowly pour the chicken broth over the mixture, stirring continually. Stir in the fish sauce and brown sugar; simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and mushrooms; cook and stir until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp; cook until no longer translucent about 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice; season with salt; garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

You can serve this soup alone, or pair with jasmine rice. Serve with spring rolls or egg rolls, homemade or frozen, whatever your kitchen ambition inspires you to attempt!

You could also substitute two or three cooked, diced chicken breasts for the shrimp if you prefer.


Tuesday night soup

I love soup in the winter. It’s one of the ultimate comfort foods, and besides the obvious fact that it’s a warm dish in a cold season, I like to make soup because you cannot make a small pot: without major effort, you create multiple meals. I don’t like leftovers usually, but soup is a different story. Soup only improves with a day or two in the fridge.

So my soup of the week is a meatless version of creamy chicken noodle soup. I started with:

  • a pot of boiling water (I used a medium size stock pot)
  • 3 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes
  • 2 finely grated carrots (full size, not baby carrots)
  • 1 stalk of celery, diced
  • sliced fresh mushrooms, about 1/2 lb
  • fresh black pepper, to taste

I cooked the vegetables in the bouillon and water and added approximately half of a 1 lb box of Barilla cut spaghetti pasta. As the pasta cooked, it absorbed much of the broth. I added more water to cover the pasta, two cups of milk and a topping of cheese (any type of cheese that melts well will work with this dish, just use whatever you have on hand, and as much as you want to reach your desired level of cheesiness).

As the soup simmered, the flavors combined and the pasta thickened the broth. Yummy!

Soup is filling, nurturing, and forgiving. You can put together many flavors or a few. If the mixture is too thick, add water, broth, or milk. If it is too thin, you can thicken with a cornstarch slurry, instant potato flakes, pasta, or rice…any starchy component will thicken broth. Add herbs, spices, cheese: you literally can’t go wrong as long as you are tasting as you go, adjusting seasonings, and keeping the broth and other components in a spoonable ratio. Soup is a good vehicle for learning to combine a variety of ingredients to create a cohesive dish. You can start with a basic recipe or concept and follow your own taste and imagination to create something unique. If you already cook, good for you! And if you’re a novice in the kitchen, this is a good place to begin learning basic skills.

Give your creativity free reign and enjoy!