20-Minute Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

Chillier temperatures are finally peeking through daily forecasts, and that means one thing: soup season is upon us. To continue our month of dinners that people actually make, here’s a recipe for coconut chicken soup, from Pam Anderson’s revised edition of How to Cook Without a Book. It’s deceptively simple and packs a flavorful punch. Here’s how to make it…

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup
From Pam Anderson’s How to Cook Without a Book
Serves 4

You’ll need:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, any color, chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic (or refrigerated paste)
1 tbsp freshly grated fresh ginger (or refrigerated paste)
2 tbsp red curry paste
2 cups chicken broth, plus more if needed
1 can (13.5 oz) full-fat coconut milk
3 to 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (a rotisserie chicken would work well)
3 tbsp lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper and sauté until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, a minute or so longer. Stir in the curry paste, and then add the broth, coconut milk and chicken. Simmer 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Serve each portion over basmati rice with lime wedges.

Thank you so much, Pam! Your cookbook is beautiful.

(Reprinted from How To Cook Without a Book. Copyright © 2000, 2018 by Pam Anderson. Photographs copyright © 2018 by Lauren Volo. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC. Thanks to Franny Eremin for helping with this series.)

  1. Hilary says...

    Loved this recipe! I didn’t have broth on hand so used half miso ginger and half water. Also added some fish sauce and rice noodles. So adaptable!

  2. Krissy says...

    I’ve made this a couple of times, and it’s great. Love a forgiving recipe like this; it’s going into the rotation for sure!

  3. This was DELICIOUS! Even my very picky children ate this soup — MAKE IT!

  4. Sally says...

    Thanks for alerting me to the publication of the revised and updated edition of How to Cook Without a Book. I’ve had the first edition since it was published 18 years ago and it’s a favorite. I purchased the new edition within minutes of seeing it mentioned here.

  5. Diana says...

    Making this tonight for my sick bf, sounds so tasty!

  6. Julia says...

    I made this last night and added chopped peanuts to the top – yum! I think any curry paste would work just fine :-)

  7. Fay says...

    Made this tonight! Delicious. And super fast & easy-used TJ’s frozen ginger, pre-chopped onion and garlic (I know, all the packaging,..but when you’re rushing on a weeknight…), leftover chicken and enjoyed it with TJ’s Harvest Grains. So good! And my toddler loved it, too :)

  8. Rue says...

    Last night I made a vegetarian pantry dinner centered around basmati rice because it was there and it cooks fast. I sauteed some onions, added tomato paste + a few spices, stirred in a can of diced tomatoes and a can of pinto beans (with their liquid), then added uncooked rice and water to the pan and covered it. It simmered for ten minutes before I remembered I had to race out the door for something, so I turned off the heat and it sat for 90 minutes. When I came home, I had perfectly cooked rice and beans! Sometimes accidents are happy ones.

  9. Tara says...

    This looks amazing; I may try it this weekend! Do you have a suggestion for an on-theme side dish?

  10. This looks SO good!! I’d add a few vegetables at the end.
    I’ve been buying rotisserie chicken breasts instead of the whole bird lately: works well for those of us who don’t like dark meat ;/

  11. Anna says...

    This is my favourite food series that you’ve done so far. I love fast, easy cooking!

  12. Joyce says...

    Looks amazing! Has anyone tried this with yellow curry paste (if there is such a thing)? My taste buds can’t handle a crazy amount of spice…so wimpy!

  13. Jeannie says...

    This looks so easy and good! I made a roast chicken last night and this is the perfect left overs recipe.

  14. Kayla says...

    Made this for dinner because I happened to have everything on hand, and it’s SO good. Also SO spicy, ha. Thanks for a great, quick, and simple weeknight dinner.

  15. Amanda says...

    I’m just a really big fan of any recipe that includes the phrase “a rotisserie chicken would work well.” I love cooking but when you’re short on time/don’t want to turn on the oven/just can’t be bothered, those babies are the best $6.99 I can imagine spending…

  16. Lisa says...

    Heat index well over 100 degrees today in central Florida. I may have to blast the AC a little more and make this anyway!

  17. Totally adding this to the menu plan for next week! It looks amazing!


  18. Absolutely gorgeous – cannot wait to try it – thanks for sharing!!


  19. Shari says...

    Just did a Jamie Oliver version last night. It was 4 chopped spring onions in a pan sweated down in some oil ,2 handfuls of rice thrown in at the same time. Stir it around. Then add your red curry paste, stir fry for a bit, then add your can of coconut milk plus two more cans of water. Cook it up and then add some chopped up defrosted prawns. Done. Over and out.

    • Lynn says...

      Is the rice cooked or not when you put it in? Sounds yum, thanks!

    • Shari says...

      The rice cooks in the liquid so put it in uncooked. Boil it all up for about 7 minutes and put the prawns in for the last five or so minutes. Then you just test it to see if it’s done. And then you have soup!

  20. Laeti says...

    Looks delish, thanks!

  21. Mmmm. I used to make Tom Ka Ghai every week because it was so easy and required such few ingredients, but I was always left with extra veggie broth that I didn’t know what to do with. This recipe is perfect! Sticks with my love of thai food, easy to make, and I can use up the rest of my broth without it going to waste.

    Thanks so much for sharing! Can’t wait to try this.


  22. Emily says...

    I used to make a soup just like this a couple of times a month, but it fell out of rotation. Thanks for the reminder! It’s going back on the list. It’s also really good with mushrooms.