Recipe: Chicken Soup with Lemongrass, Coconut & Basil

This is a fresh-tasting and fragrant soup that’s really easy to prepare and the hot bright flavors will dance on your tongue.

Leave out the chili altogether if you prefer – or increase it until steam comes out of your ears; it’s entirely up to you. I like moderate heat so that I can still taste the ingredients without searing off my taste buds.

Use organic ingredients where possible and you could substitute fish or very thinly sliced pork or beef fillet for the chicken. You’ll need to simmer the vegetables in the broth and fish sauce for a few minutes before adding fish or shrimp as they’ll cook more quickly than chicken, pork or beef. Vegetarians can substitute thinly sliced firm tofu which needs to be sauteed as per the chicken, but be aware that nam pla (fish sauce) is made from anchovies.

Chicken soup with lemongrass and basil


(Serves 4)


1 tablespoon of grape-seed, avocado or canola oil

4 large lemongrass stalks, inner pale parts only – crushed

1 small head of celery – trimmed, rinsed and chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and shredded/grated

2 medium onions, sliced very thinly

2 Thai or Serrano chilies, seeded and minced – or – ½ to 1 teaspoon of dried chili flakes (Optional)

Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or 4 boneless skinless thighs), sliced into ¼ inch / 1/2 cm strips

3 tablespoons of Indonesian fish sauce (Nam Pla)

6 cups / 1.422ml of chicken broth

½ cup / 118ml of light coconut milk

The juice of 1 lemon or lime

½ cup of fresh basil leaves, washed and lightly torn


Heat the oil in a wide pan and sauté the crushed lemongrass for a couple of minutes. Add the celery, carrot onion and chilies (if using); sauté for a few more minutes then season with salt and black pepper.

Push the vegetables slightly aside – add the chicken and sauté until opaque.

Add the chicken broth and fish sauce; bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by about 1 cup / 237ml.

Add the lemon juice and coconut milk – adjust the seasoning and warm it through.

Stir in the basil leaves just before serving.

About edibletcetera

I'm passionate about food; I cook, photograph, eat...then writes about it in that order. I'm also an occasional restaurant critic and caterer; a former newspaper columnist; author; social media/marketing communications; world traveler; dog lover; skier...and wit, (according to those who know me).
This entry was posted in Indian & Asian Cuisine, Poultry, Soups. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Recipe: Chicken Soup with Lemongrass, Coconut & Basil

  1. Virginia says:

    Yum, that looks great, and authentic!


  2. Gilly B says:

    What do you mean by chicken broth? Is it just American for stock ? Or something else like a tin of Cambells chicken broth !!

    • Definitely not Campbell’s soup – Organic chicken broth/stock is available in the US in tetrapaks from Costco and most supermarkets. Its useful for the basis of soups, risotto, and casseroles.

  3. Pingback: Now That It’s Soup Weather… | Edibletcetera – Fast & Fabulous Food

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