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Thai-Style Chicken Soup

Nov 12, 2014 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Rhea’s Rundown

Thai-style soup or Tom Ka Gai is one of my all-time favorite soups. This recipe does it justice with lots of fresh lime juice, fresh grated ginger, coconut milk, and tender, fall-apart chicken. I love mushrooms so I added a can of straw mushrooms to the mix. I found everything I needed for this recipe at Whole Foods, except for the straw mushrooms, which can be found Shoppers. I chose to garnish my soup with jalapeño peppers, scallions, and plenty of cilantro. The extra squeeze from the lime wedges for serving goes a long way for a flavor boost, too. 

I will say that the two onions that required mincing did have me completely in tears by the end of the process. Alas, it was not to be the end of my teary undertakings (I had to buy six onions for this week’s recipes, which means I had to chop up all six of those onions at one point or another). See this week’s Garden Vegetable Sauce for more help with this. After so much slicing and dicing—and bleary eyesight—I had to enlist the aid of a garlic press for the six garlic cloves required. From there it’s all downhill; peel and chop the carrots (I doubled the amount called for as I didn’t think it would be enough) and throw all the ingredients in the pot. A citrus press will help speed up the process at the end for the fresh squeezed lime juice.

Ingredients – Serves 6 to 8
  • 2 onions, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans coconut milk
  • 2 stalks lemon grass, bottom 5 inches only, bruised
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ thick
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 10 cilantro stems, tied together with twine
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 1 can of straw mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste

  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Thai, serrano, or jalapeño chiles, stemmed, seeded, and sliced thin
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • Lime wedges, for serving


1. Microwave onions, garlic, ginger, and oil in bowl, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.

2. Stir broth, 1 can coconut milk, lemon grass, carrots, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and cilantro stems into slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.

3. Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-size pieces. Let soup settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using large spoon. Discard lemon grass and cilantro stems.

4. Stir in mushrooms, cover, and cook on high until mushrooms are tender, 5 to 15 minutes. Microwave remaining can coconut milk in bowl until hot, about 3 minutes, then whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and curry paste to dissolve.

5. Stir hot coconut milk mixture and shredded chicken into soup and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with garnishes.

Adapted from: “Thai-Style Chicken Soup.” Slow Cooker Revolution. Boston Common Press Limited Partnership. 2011. Print.

Rhea Torreon
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