Thursday, August 6, 2020
Aug. 6, 2020

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A silky, spicy take on a Thai soup favorite


The flavor of this quick pot might at first remind you of a popular Thai soup, but the coconut milk, fresh ginger and Sriracha take it someplace else. Without the lemon grass, tomato and mushrooms found in Tom Yum Gai, the result is silky through the first slurp — and then that chile-garlic hot sauce kicks in. The thin pieces of white-meat chicken cook to a lovely tenderness in just a few minutes.

The only knifework involved is for the ginger and the chicken, so the prep is easy.

With this recipe, we’ll institute a new canned coconut milk policy: Unless there is other blending involved, we will no longer call for a can to be “well shaken” — because let’s face it, unless you have access to the paint-mixing machines at a hardware store, you are not going to properly reconstitute the congealed fat at the top and the watery milk beneath it. So we are recommending a quick extra step: Dump and scrape the contents of the can into a container, then use an immersion (stick) blender to make the coconut milk all one-note creamy again.

There are certain brands, such as Aroy D, that seem to stay fairly creamy. If you have such a can on hand, skip our blending step.

Coconut Chicken Soup

Servings: 2 to 3

One 14-ounce can coconut milk (low-fat or regular)

1 lime

One 2-inch piece fresh ginger root

1¾ cups chicken broth, preferably no-salt-added

1 tablespoon Sriracha

1½ teaspoons fish sauce, or more as needed

Several large leaves of fresh basil, preferably Thai basil, plus a few more for garnish

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast

Transfer the contents of canned coconut milk to a larger container or canister designed for an immersion (stick) blender, making sure to scrape all the solidified coconut cream/fat from the can. Puree until emulsified (even a little frothy).

Use a Microplane grater to zest the lime, reserving it in a small bowl. Cut the fruit in half and squeeze half the juice into a medium saucepan.

Use a spoon to scrape off the ginger’s skin, then cut the ginger into thin slices and add to the pan, along with the re-emulsified coconut milk, broth, Sriracha, fish sauce and the basil; bring just to a boil over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, cut the chicken breast half crosswise into ¼- to ½-inch-thick strips, cut those strips into bite-size chunks. Add them all to the soup; reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the saucepan and cook for 10 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through.

Uncover; discard the wilted basil. Stir in the remaining lime juice. Taste, and add more fish sauce, as needed.

Divide among bowls. Garnish with the reserved lime zest and fresh basil leaves. Serve hot.

Based on a recipe from

The nutritional analysis is based on 3 servings (using regular coconut milk).

Calories: 410; Total Fat: 28 g; Saturated Fat: 18 g; Sodium: 410 mg; Carbohydrates: 7 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 28 g.