Easy Spicy Thai Chicken Soup

Thai food is a favorite around our house!  I love the flavorful harmony of Thai ingredients, especially in the soups. With the use of things like ginger or galanga, lemongrass, basil, lime and chili peppers, you get that sweet, spicy, salty, sour and sometimes floral combination that’s just delicious and very addictive!   If you’ve never experienced the aroma and flavor of kaffir lime leaves, you’re in for a treat!  I’ve prepared several thai chicken soups over the years, and tonight I decided to see if I could simplify one using an already-roasted chicken I had in my freezer.  Any time I can use a roasted chicken to get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes, I’m a happy girl!

Kaffir Lime Leaves have distinctively shaped "double" leaves

Spicy Thai Chicken Soup

Serves 4-6


  • 1 roasted chicken
  • 2 cans lite coconut milk (NOT Coco Loco)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves (can substitute lime zest if necessary)
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar (can substitute brown sugar)
  • 4-6 thai bird chilies (more or less depending on heat preference)
  • 8 large slices galanga (can substitute fresh ginger)
  • 1 small head of Napa cabbage, sliced or shredded
  • 1 can straw mushrooms (usually found in the oriental section)
  • 6-8 thai basil leaves, more for garnish (use sweet basil as a substitute)
  • Fresh cilantro & thai basil, chopped, for garnish


Remove chicken from bone and cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Place coconut milk, broth, lemongrass, galanga, kaffir lime leaves, sugar and chilies in pot over high heat.  Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, add chicken, cabbage, mushrooms, basil, fish sauce and lime juice, and simmer 15-20 minutes.  Ladle into bowls, and garnish with cilantro, basil and lime wedges, if desired.

Liz’s Tidbits:

1. You can always substitute ginger for galanga, brown sugar for coconut palm sugar and lime zest for kaffir leaves, but if at all possible, try and find the Thai ingredients.  If you can’t find them locally, you can always order them online.  I keep kaffir lime leaves and thai bird chilies in my freezer.  They keep for a very long time!

2.   Thai bird chilies are VERY HOT! Since everyone in my house likes things spicy, I like to slice mine in half lengthwise before adding to the soup.  If you like it really spicy, try slicing the chilies into little pieces, and then float some extras in your soup just before serving.


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