Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup |

Soup week continues to go strong, which is a good thing because we are all really freezing our butts off today.

But seriously…can we all stop talking about the weather for a second and discuss kaffir lime leaves?  I am totally infatuated with them.

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup |

This Thai coconut chicken noodle soup is practically brimming with them.

And let me tell you.  Nothing smells better than a steaming bowl of chicken broth infused with spicy ginger, coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves, fish sauce, red curry paste, galangal, lime juice, and topped with fresh cilantro.

You’ll want to drink the broth by itself, but the addition of chicken and soba noodles make it extra special.

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup |

After visiting a great Thai restaurant in DC over Christmas (restaurant is a little bit of a misnomer–it is basically a family’s townhouse, where you are brought one dish after another and instructed to BYOB), I’ve been wanting to make a Thai-inspired soup.

And this is what I came up with.

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup |

This recipe is a very, very loose interpretation of the traditional soup, Tom Ka Gai.  I cannot stress the word loose enough.

Obviously soba noodles are Japanese, so I took some liberties.  Forgive me.  If it means anything, these are the soup leftovers that Connor and I both fought over during the weekend.

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup |

Since this soup doesn’t include all that many ingredients, I strongly urge you not to substitute or leave out any of the ingredients (with exception of fish sauce and cilantro–if you happen not to be a fan of either).

Fresh kaffir lime leaves and dried (or even better, fresh!) galangal–an Asian root similar to ginger–can be found at Asian supermarkets and some Whole Foods locations.  Happy slurping!

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

Yield: 4-5 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Print Print Recipe


  • 8 cups (2 quarts) of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 ounces dried soba noodles
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 5 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 2 teaspoons dried galangal root
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon nam pla fish sauce (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/3 cup light, unsweetened coconut milk
  • 10 ounces chicken breast, cut into 1/2" chunks
  • juice of half a lime
  • fresh lime wedges (for garnish)
  • cilantro leaves (for garnish)


  1. Add chicken stock to large soup pot, bring to a boil and reduce by half.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season generously with salt. Add the soba noodles and cook until al dente (just firm to bite). Drain and rinse noodles under cold water. Allow to drain and set aside in a bowl.
  3. Add the kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and fresh ginger to the reduced broth and reduce heat to very low simmer. Simmer broth for 15 minutes, before straining broth into another large soup pot (or alternatively, combine kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and ginger and place in a cheesecloth sachet and tie).
  4. Return strained broth to heat and season to taste with salt.
  5. Whisk in the red curry paste, fish sauce, cayenne pepper, and coconut milk. Place over low heat (not simmering, but very hot) and add the coconut, stirring occasionally, until almost cooked. Add the cooked soba noodles and cook just until chicken is tender.
  6. Stir in juice of half a lime. Serve soup piping hot, garnished with cilantro and sliced lime.

Kaffir lime leaves and dried (or fresh) galangal can be found at Asian supermarkets and some Whole Foods locations.

Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup |

38 Responses to “Thai Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup”

  1. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — January 7, 2014 @ 6:47 am

    So gorgeous. WOW and I love TJ’s coconut milk. I use it as much as I can and love making soups with it too! Yours is a beauty!

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:44 am

      I love coconut milk, period. Have to stop myself from not adding it to everything!! Thank you Averie!

  2. #
    Ali @ Inspiralized — January 7, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    This looks outstanding!!

  3. #
    Tieghan Gerard — January 7, 2014 @ 9:01 am

    How come I have never heard of kaffir lime leaves? Where the heck do I get them? No whole foods or Trader Joes here, so I am kind of thinking i can’t. :(

    Anyway, this soup looks awesome. I love Thai flavors SO much. I cannot stop making Thai! Soup is next!

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:45 am

      Agh!! You don’t have Trader Joes or Whole Foods? I might just have to send some your way then. You would love them!

  4. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — January 7, 2014 @ 9:57 am

    This soup is stunning and bursting with some of my favorite flavors!!! Cannot wait to make this over the weekend!

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:46 am

      Oooh yay!!! Add lemongrass too maybe. I would have, but the stores were all out. It’s totally not necessary though.

  5. #
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely — January 7, 2014 @ 11:16 am

    The flavors in this sound amazing! I bet your house smelled divine when this was simmering.

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:47 am

      Yes!! I made it, cleaned up, left my apartment and came back three hours later and it still smelled like coconut and kaffir lime leaves.

  6. #
    Liz @ Virtually Homemade — January 7, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

    I love these flavors! What a beautiful bowl of soup :)

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:47 am

      Thank you as always Liz!

  7. #
    Todd @ HonestlyYUM — January 7, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

    Ahhh, one of my favorite soups EVER!! So happy to see this. Thank you Laura!!

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:48 am

      Me too, me too!!!! So happy you’re happy :)

  8. #
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — January 7, 2014 @ 12:55 pm

    LOVING this soup series. This sounds so good and looks seriously stunning. Like, it could be on the cover of Bon Appetit!

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:49 am

      Oh my goodness, you are too kind. And that sorta made my day. Thank you Nicole!! More soups coming your way…

  9. #
    Christine @ Cooking with Cakes — January 7, 2014 @ 2:11 pm

    I seem to always have TJ’s Coconut Milk lying around my cabinets, I’m obsessed!! This sounds like the perfect soup for this absolutely brutal weather – love it!

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:49 am

      Yes! Brutal weather, but amazing soup weather 😉 I am OBsessed with coconut milk.

  10. #
    Sarah | The Sugar Hit — January 7, 2014 @ 7:02 pm

    It’s about a million degrees where I am, but somehow I’m still craving a spicy, noodly soup? This is seriously calling my name!

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:50 am

      Can I trade you some of those degrees for some of my soup? My feet feel like they’re about to fall off!!!

  11. #
    Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen — January 7, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

    Loving these colors!! Gorgeous photos :)

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:51 am

      Thank you Kristi! Hope you had a great New Years!

  12. #
    Joel A. — January 8, 2014 @ 12:06 am

    Bursting with flavors. I love your photos.

    • Laura replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 12:51 am

      Thanks so much Joel! And for visiting, of course 😉

  13. #
    Mom — January 8, 2014 @ 8:27 pm

    I want to make every single one of these soups, so “soup week” may be a constant next week! Great week for you to feature these, as it is absolutely freezing and we have all set records apparently for the coldest weather ever recorded! All these soups are so different and look delicious! Which one will i make first? Yum!

  14. #
    Jason Foodgeek — January 9, 2014 @ 2:47 am

    That looks really good. I’ve been on an Asian noodle soup kick lately but haven’t tried making them at home yet.

  15. #
    Lynn @ The Actor's Diet — January 11, 2014 @ 1:10 pm

    My husband just made some Thai Carrot Coconut soup last night – I’m inspired to add some noodles now!

    • Laura replied: — January 12th, 2014 @ 5:48 pm

      Sounds so good! I really liked the soba noodles–even if it made it messy to eat :)

  16. #
    DessertForTwo — January 12, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

    Hello, delicious! I want to eat this all day long!

  17. #
    Larry — January 13, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

    Ummm, this looks amazing. AND THAT CHOPSTICK HOLDER?! *dying*

  18. #
    Lisamarie — January 22, 2014 @ 1:08 am

    I just made this soup for dinner and tonight and I must say this is the best soup I have ever made. Thank you so much for sharing this recipie!!! I did use regular coconut milk instead of light though.

  19. #
    David B. — January 1, 2015 @ 11:38 am

    Have you tried Swanson’s lemongrass infused chicken broth? Or a Thai flavored chicken bone broth? I make soups similar to this with those broths as starting points, and it works well.

    Baked and finely cubed tofu can substitute for the chicken in these type of soups. Try brushing the tofu with a ginger lime vinegrette before baking.

    I will try adding soba noodles next time I make this. That is a great, easy idea, Laura!


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