Thai Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

I’m back on the West side, and I have a bit of a confession. I un-did something disappointing. I went to North Carolina for five days and didn’t eat a lick of Carolina barbecue. Not one biscuit, no sweet tea, not a single hush puppy, not even a smidge of banana pudding. I un-did the entire North Carolina cuisine experience when I was in North Carolina, and I have no good reason for it, other than I forgot.

My good friend, Sandi got married on Saturday, hip hip hooraaaaaaay! We had a wonderful time catching up and between jibber jabbering and wedding preparation, we had little time to spare. Ergo, no Instagram pictures of fried okra. Those’ll have to wait until next trip.


Before I left for NC, I made a batch of Thai Chicken Soup. Until this point, I had relied on Thai restaurants for the soup, thinking there was no way I’d be able to fashion up something half as delicious. It is one of those dishes I sidled around like a kid with gum on her shoe. I gave it the one eyebrow up, turned the other direction, and let it be. Now that I’ve done made the thing, I’ll be doing so time and again.

Remember my phobia of rhubarb I told you about when I posted the Gluten Free Strawberry Rhubarb Cake?  That’s pretty much how I felt about lemongrass before making this soup. Why does it looooook like thaaat?  What do I dooooo with iiiiit? Somebody help meeeee.

At first glance, lemongrass seems strange…like a house with no door.  How do you get into it? Do you break a window and hope there’s no security system or rabid dog inside? Once you peel the outer layers off, take a nice smash at it, and cut it into pieces, lemongrass becomes more familiar, and less like a menacing extraterrestrial. And it makes Thai dishes delicious.

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

This is a great recipe to change up the normal cold-day chicken noodle soup repertoire. It’s all Thai’d up and full of flavor. Now if I could only get some Carolina barbecue to go with it…

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup with Lemongrass

Thai Chicken Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Author: Julia


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 stalks lemongrass*
  • 2 ears corn kernels removed
  • 2 red mini sweet peppers chopped, or ½ a red bell pepper
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1 cup coconut milk canned full-fat coconut milk recommended


  1. Place chopped chicken in a bowl and marinate it with fish sauce. Sprinkle curry powder over it and allow it to sit while you’re sautéing the lemongrass, corn, and peppers
  2. Chop the ends off of the lemongrass, and peel the outer layers. Smash the stalks and using only the bottom 1/3 of the stalk, cut strips.
  3. Add oil to a large saucepan or stock pot and add the lemongrass, corn, and peppers. Sauté until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and cook just until browned, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken stock, lime juice, and coconut milk. Cover the pot and bring to a gentle boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. When ready to serve, remove the harder pieces of lemongrass.
  8. Serve with chopped cilantro

Recipe Notes

*You can replace the fresh lemongrass with lemongrass paste to taste


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  1. Julie

    Our problem in this neck-of-the-woods is that we don’t have things like lemongrass. It’s absurd that the grocery stores here are so lame. And this looks so good, too! When you visit Stephie, have her make you her biscuits. You won’t give a care if you ever go back to NC to get a biscuit. By the way, you have to have a strong stomach for the barbecue because it has so much fat in it. There. I said it. I’ll probably get NC barbecue-lovers writing hate comments. I love it–it just doesn’t love me. Discovered that when I was prego with my girl-o. Have a fabulous week, my dear.

    1. Julia Post author

      I feel lucky to have a grocery store nearby with a really decent produce selection, but I haven’t always had that luxury, so I totally get the frustration. One fun fact, is you can buy lemongrass paste (which I’ve done quite a bit over the years), and I believe a lot of grocery stores carry it…it’s in the produce section next to the other pastes (basil paste, garlic paste, cilantro paste, etc.).

      NC barbecue is definitely different than BBQ out here on the West side. I tend to do myself in when it comes to Carolina bbq, cause my belly’s not used to it either…oh the pains we take to consume tasty food….. 😉

      1. Julie

        Oh! I’ll have to check out the paste section. Yeah, our groceries suck. You know it’s bad when one of the best stocked stores is Super Wal Mart. Ugh.

  2. Ruthy @ Omeletta

    Lemongrass always used to intimidate me because once, in culinary school, I made a soup with lemongrass and never removed the hard woody parts and got marked down for it. Lol for some reason that scared me away for ages, and it was only in the last few years I started cooking with it again! I agree, it can be a bit intimidating at first, but its such an awesome flavor enhancer.

  3. Shannon Cikowski

    Ah this looks great, I love Tom Kha Gai!! Usually in Thailand they put tomatoes and mushrooms in it too. I’ve also ordered spicy versions of this soup before which was really good


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