This soup is SO deelish!! I make lots of soup for lots of people, and this is the one nobody ever asks for, because they are unfamiliar with it. But once they have tasted it, and the “mystery” is gone, they are hooked. I guess ginger, galangal, lemon grass, and Kaffir lime leaves aren’t really in the mainstream of cooking for most people. Even Foodies!
This soup can be made the difficult way, or the easy way. But you have to be able to find the Thom Yum soup base mix to make it easy. If you are near an Asian market, it should be easy to find. But I have made it many times with the ingredients found at normal grocery stores. Pictured below are some of them. Lemon grass, Thai seasonings, ginger……all are pretty easily found. The whole success of this soup is the broth you make to start. Once it is strong and tasty, you will add the coconut milk to finish it.
Also NOTE: If you like spice, add fresh jalapeños, Siracha or chili flake to your taste.
So here is a basic recipe for making the broth:
1 small, bony chicken (or 4 chicken thighs with bones and skin)
4 cups water
4 tsp. Chicken broth soup mix, powdered or paste.
1/2 small onion, sliced
1 large chunk ginger (sliced). OR one tbsp. squeeze bottle ginger (these are starting amounts)
1 large stalk lemon grass, chopped. OR one tbsp. squeeze bottle lemon grass
If you can find Kaffir lime leaves, add 5 or 6. I am lucky enough to have a lime tree in my yard, so I just go out and pick a few good ole American limes. NOTE: this soup can live without the lime leaves. You can always add a couple of tablespoons of lime juice.
Boil the chicken and all the spices at least 1/2 to one hour, or until a good flavor is achieved. Adjust any flavors you want. I usually like more chicken base to make it really strong, because the coconut milk is going to tone it down. Remove the chicken, cool slightly and pick it off the bone, cutting it into bite sized pieces. STRAIN the broth and add chicken back into it. Then add:
Add 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk (NOT lite. NOT coconut Pina colada mix)
1 package fresh rice or Udon noodles. Again, available at Asian Markets. You may have to settle for dry rice noodles, and if so, cook them first, THEN add them to the soup. Simmer about 10 minutes. ( I also like to rinse the fresh noodles before adding them to the soup in order to get rid of excess starch.)
Below is a copy of one of the original recipes for this soup I printed in one of my cookbooks 10 years ago. I used to add curry but now I don’t every time. I find better recipes for curry soups with their own personality!