By Karin Calloway

Karin Calloway is a working mom living in Augusta, Ga., with multiple freelance jobs and a ton of dirty dishes.

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup with Ginger

This recipe for Thai Coconut Chicken Soup with Ginger is a quick and easy introduction to the flavors of Thai cooking. Subtle combinations of soothing coconut milk, piquant ginger root, tangy citrus, salty fish sauce and spicy peppers typify Thai cuisine. They’re combined here in a soup that’s perfect for a first course, or as the center of a light meal.

Cooking Thai meals used to require a trip to the Oriental market. Today, most supermarkets carry Thai ingredients like unsweetened coconut milk, fish sauce, Pad Thai mix and basmati rice. By making a few substitutions in Victor Sodsook’s traditional Thai recipe from "True Thai", I eliminated the need to make a special shopping trip to prepare this warming, palette-pleasing soup.

Feel free to use light coconut milk to decrease the fat content of this soup. Or, use one can of regular coconut milk and one can of reduced fat for a creamy, yet lower fat version. Jalapeno peppers have been substituted for traditional Thai hot peppers in this recipe. Feel free to decrease or increase the amount of peppers used to accommodate your tastes. The peppers are simmered briefly in the soup, but they still pack a kick for those with sensitive palettes.

Serve your soup with a salad of peeled and sliced cucumbers tossed with rice wine vinegar and chopped peanuts. Although not traditional Thai, you could add some purchased egg rolls to make this into a meal. Or, serve the soup as a starter for an East/West dinner. A good entree choice would be grilled or broiled salmon teriyaki, with side dishes of cooked basmati or jasmine rice and stir-fried vegetables. A tropical fruit salad of pineapple and mango would be an appropriate finale.

  • 2 14.5-ounce cans low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces ginger root, unpeeled and cut into 1/4" slices
  • Peel of 1 lemon
  • Peel of 1 lime
  • 2 cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 jalapeno pepper or other hot chili, sliced
Combine broth, ginger and citrus peel in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add coconut milk and return to a boil. Stir in chicken strips, lemon juice, brown sugar and fish sauce and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes, until chicken is cooked. Stir in sliced jalapenos and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.