Chicken, coconut and ginger soup with lime, Thai basil and mint recipe

Chicken, coconut and ginger soup with lime, Thai basil and mint
Leave the seeds in the chillies if you want your soup to have an extra kick - Haarala Hamilton

Inspired by Thai chicken curry but made when I have a lot of homemade stock. You can use leftover chicken for this – if you have enough – instead of cooking it fresh, or thigh fillets instead of breast (thigh fillets take a little longer to cook).

This can easily be halved to feed four. If you like your soup with more of a kick, leave the seeds in the bird’s-eye chillies.


Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes




  • 1 large onion, cut into crescent-moon shaped slices

  • 2 tbsp groundnut or rapeseed oil

  • 4 shallots, finely chopped

  • 3cm cube of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

  • 3 medium-sized red chillies, deseeded and cut into strips

  • 3 fat lemongrass stalks, tough outer leaves removed and core chopped

  • 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1.4 litres chicken stock

  • 400g creamed coconut (in the block)

  • 300g small waxy potatoes, cut in half

  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

  • 1 tbsp soft light-brown sugar

  • juice of 2 limes

  • 400g chicken breast fillet, cut into thin strips

  • 8 makrut lime leaves

  • 15g Thai basil leaves

  • 10g mint leaves

  • 3 red bird’s-eye chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced


  1. In a large pan, sauté the onion in the oil until just colouring.

  2. Put the shallots, ginger, red chilli, lemongrass and garlic into a food processor with 3 tbsp water and whizz to a paste.

  3. Add to the onions and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  4. Add the chicken stock and bring it up to the boil.

  5. Turn down to a simmer and add the creamed coconut. Stir to help melt the coconut in the stock.

  6. Put the potatoes into the pan, along with the fish sauce, sugar and the juice of one of the limes. Let the soup simmer (but not boil) until the potatoes are tender – about 12 minutes.

  7. Add the chicken, which will cook in just 2 minutes, and the lime leaves.

  8. Tear the basil and mint leaves and add to the soup, with the bird’seye chillies and the juice of the other lime.

  9. Taste – it shouldn’t need salt or pepper but should be hot, sour, salty and sweet. Adjust this balance if you need to.

  10. Serve hot.