and all the agos selling soup


I know many people only cook meals that call for less than five ingredients or that require less than ten minutes of preparation. I’m not one of those people, but I still appreciate a recipe that comes together quickly. Despite the lengthy list of ingredients, this looked like a great, quick recipe to me. I cooked this soup in my head, and it seemed like a winner.

If I’m trying something new, one of my priorities is to take the time to take pictures of the finished dish, or even better, the process of creating it. That was my intention, but a hungry daughter showing up at dinnertime derailed me.

The first time I made this (two days ago) it turned out superb. As I cooked the mushrooms, garlic, and ginger with the chile paste, our house smelled like my favorite ramen restaurant! Dang it, everyone was practically drooling and eager to eat, but what about the pictures! I set the table and spooned out enough so that some would be leftover – a good portion to photograph the next morning. It didn’t happen. We ate it all.

What you’re seeing here is round two (in two days) of this amazing soup. We liked it so much, I knew that selling it a second night in a row wouldn’t be a problem. It’s spicy, slightly tart but sweet and absolutely delicious.

I followed the recipe from Cooking Light (January, 2012) pretty closely, but left out the red peppers (I’m not a fan) and per the recommendation of many reviewers, used only two cups of chicken broth rather than three. I also served the soup over cooked Jasmine rice the first time around, and over wide rice noodles last night. The recipe didn’t call for either, but I wouldn’t make it without. (We like the noodles better than the rice.)

Spicy Thai coconut chicken soup, a recipe only slightly modified from Cooking Light magazine. Serves 4 people, or 3 if they’re really hungry.


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper  (I’m not a fan, so I skipped these)
  • 4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (3-inch) stalk lemongrass, halved lengthwise
  • 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
  • 2 cups chicken stock or fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 ¼ cups light coconut milk
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • ½ cup green onion strips (oops! I forgot to add them)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Hot cooked rice or wide rice noodles, optional


Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms and the next 4 ingredients (through lemongrass); cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chile paste and cook an additional minute. Add chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, and sugar, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken to pot and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Discard lemongrass. Stir in juice. I served this in preheated bowls over hot cooked rice the first night, and wide rice noodles the second. You can skip both if you want. Top with onions and cilantro.