This chicken and rice soup is "comfort in a bowl", and is especially welcoming if you've had a long day or are fighting a cold or flu bug. Homemade chicken soup is easy to make and tastes so much better than canned - it's also much healthier.
This Thai chicken and rice soup is extra healthy and delicious since it includes fresh herbs and spices as well as vegetables. Lime juice and coconut milk give it its very special Thai taste. Use leftover roast chicken (or turkey), or cook the chicken from scratch.
- 6 cups good-tasting chicken stock
- 1/2 to 1 cup sliced or shredded leftover roast chicken or turkey, OR 1 to 2 raw chicken breasts or thighs, sliced
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, left whole, OR 1 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 thumb-size piece ginger, grated (or galangal, if available)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, sliced thinly
- 1 cup oyster mushrooms, left whole unless very large
- 3/4 to 1 cup cooked Thai rice (or substitute another type of rice)
- 1/2 cup (canned) mini corn cobs, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup (canned) bamboo shoots
- 1 to 2 whole red chilies
- 4 tbsp. fish sauce
- juice of 1 lime (a little less than 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 can coconut milk (about 1/3 cup)
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 2 spring (green) onions, sliced
- A handful of fresh coriander to serve
Heat the chicken stock plus kaffir lime leaves/lime juice in a large soup pot over medium-high heat until boiling.
Add the cooked or raw chicken/turkey. If using cooked chicken/turkey, add some bones as well. If meat is uncooked, boil it in the stock (with lime leaves) for 5 to 6 minutes with the lid on or just slightly askew.
Add the ginger, garlic, celery, and mushrooms. Stir and turn down the heat to medium, gently boiling for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the rice, breaking up any clumps with your fingers as you do so. Stir well. If you're planning to eat the soup right away, add up to 1 cup of rice. If you're making the soup ahead of time, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup, as the rice expands the longer it sits.
Add the mini corn cobs, bamboo shoots, and chili. Turn down the heat, allowing soup to gently simmer 1 minute. Then add the fish sauce, lime juice, plus coconut milk and sugar, stirring well to incorporate.
Do a taste-test. The saltiness of your soup will depend on how salty your stock was to start with. Add up to 1 more tbsp. fish sauce if not salty enough. If too salty, add another squeeze or two of lime juice. For even more spice and flavor, add a teaspoon of Thai chili sauce/paste.
Add the spring onions, allowing them to float around the top of the soup without stirring them in. Portion the soup out into bowls, top with a sprinkling of fresh coriander, and serve immediately.
If You Don't Have Pre-Cooked Rice: Start with 1 cup extra stock (so 7 cups instead of 6 in your soup pot). Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup uncooked white rice (brown rice will use up twice the stock and take twice as long to cook). Allow it to gently boil in the stock with the lid on or slightly askew for 15 to 20 minutes, then continue with the recipe as is.
Leftovers: This soup will thicken with time, so it's best to eat it up in one sitting. However, if you do have leftovers, you may want to add some more chicken stock when you reheat, or (if you have time) a combination of chicken stock, lime juice, fish sauce, and coconut milk.