Thai Chicken Curry Soup

by Maris Callahan on January 19, 2012

This year I bought myself a new winter coat that I could only barely afford. For my birthday, I received a warm pair of snow boots that feel like slippers, that’s how comfortable they are. So, of course it goes without saying that since I finally have the appropriate winter outerwear after two years of living here, Chicago would have its mildest winter in history.

Until last week, the temperatures were tropical for January (we’re talking 45/50 degrees here, so folks in Southern California need not be jealous) but the calendar says it’s winter and as soon as that happens, I make soup.  So on Thursday, when I finally woke up to slushy streets, my coat-buying and soup-making felt justified.

I’ve had a can of light coconut milk in my cabinet since July and when a recent craving for Thai food hit, I decided to put it to good use (you know…instead of putting my debit card to said good use by ordering take-out). I find it difficult to explain what Thai food is to people who aren’t familiar with it. As much as I love food and have knowledge about what different ingredients are and how various dishes are made, I’m hardly a connoisseur when it comes to ethnic cuisines. I read plenty of recipes and cookbooks and websites but when it comes down to it, my go-to dishes replicate the foods I grew up eating. My go-to dishes get cooked the most frequently because that is what I crave.  My mother cooked every night and we ate vegetables with every meal but having grown up with a brother who would eat approximately three things, it goes without saying that Thai curries were not in the dinner rotation.

Sometimes, though, you need to mix it up. I’ve never been able to answer the question “what’s your favorite food” or even “what’s your least favorite food” because it could always be something I haven’t even tried yet (and honestly? my least favorite food is anything that combines peanut butter and chocolate. Really. I won’t touch it. And sometimes when I tell people that, they throw things at me and call me names). So I try new foods. And new recipes. Even though I can’t give you a detailed history about why you have to cut the chicken a certain way or who discovered coconut milk and in what year, I can tell you that this is tasty, delish and perfect when eaten from the couch wearing extra thick socks.

Note: I saw this somewhere on the internet from my mobile phone and now I have no recollection of where I saw it. If you are reading this thinking that I am an internet content thief who stole your original work of genius, rest assured it was unintentional.

Another note: Congratulations That Short Chick, the winner of the KitchenAid Stand Mixer giveaway. Enjoy it! Thanks to everyone who entered.

Thai Chicken Curry Soup

Serves 4

What You Need

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
14 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 jalapeño, seeded, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cups freshly cooked jasmine rice

How-To:

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the oil, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until cooked through and golden. Remove chicken and set aside. Sauté the onion, adding more oil if necessary, until tender.

Return the chicken to the pot with the onions. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, curry powder and jalapeno. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add bell pepper, green onion, and cilantro and simmer an additional 3 minutes. Stir in lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon rice into 4 bowls and top with a ladle or two of soup. Garnish with additional cilantro and a sprinkling of shredded coconut. Serve.

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Nami | Just One Cookbook January 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I know what you mean – I’ve been in the states for 15 years by myself, and all I’ve been cooking is mainly Japanese food. Once in a while I mix up with other cuisines, but I still don’t know how to bake most of the baked goods (got to change this!) and I’m still not good at making a big portion. I love Thai food, and it’s probably one of my most favorite cuisines. However, I got so used to American Thai food that I was surprised how different real Thai food was when I went to Thailand. LOL. I’d definitely enjoy your soup. =) Stay warm! SF has been super cold this week and I crave for soup like this one!

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Amanda January 20, 2012 at 12:00 am

That sounds perfect, except for the shredded coconut on top. the cilantro in Thai food is always suprising to me because I expect cilantro to be only in Mexican food, but oh my goodness, it is refreshing and the perfect accompaniment.

And I can tell you which food I hate, except my list is long and is totally due to my texture issues.

Great recipe!

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Ashley January 20, 2012 at 12:17 am

The funny thing is that even in Southern California where it’s been 60-70 degrees, we still kind of act like it’s winter with soup and scarves (to go with our sandals and t-shirts).

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Lisa January 20, 2012 at 12:50 am

That soup looks so creamy, comforing and perfectly spicy for those Chi-Town Winters. Glad you finally got the appropriate winter wear!

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The Waspy Redhead January 20, 2012 at 1:22 am

I am making this. End of discussion. Yep, need some ASAP.

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Erica January 20, 2012 at 2:21 am

No love for pb and chocolate?! I cant make fun of that because i dont like bacon. This soup sounds like comfort in a bowl! I love the versatility of coconut milk

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Kathryn January 20, 2012 at 3:04 am

The weather has been similar in the UK, really mild and only the mere hint of proper winter. It’s very confusing! I love the fresh flavours of Thai food though and I’m certainly not going to wait until it gets cold to try this!

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Simply Life January 20, 2012 at 6:02 am

thai food is always a tricky one for me to try and cook because I’m not familiar with all the ingredients- looks like you mastered this one!

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Bev Weidner January 20, 2012 at 6:36 am

This soup tenderly massages my soul.

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Lindsay @ biking before bed January 20, 2012 at 7:09 am

I love the sound of this soup… Total comfort food! The only Thai food I make with any regularity is Pad Thai. And I’m going to tell my dad I met someone else who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate. He thought he was the only one!

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Kristen January 20, 2012 at 7:21 am

I’ve never used coconut milk in soup but I don’t know why. This Thai soup sounds awesome, Maris!

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Kay January 20, 2012 at 8:40 am

This looks delicious, I love Thai curries!

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amy @ fearless homemaker January 20, 2012 at 8:41 am

looks absolutely delicious. i used to make a soup like this but haven’t made it in years – thanks for reminding me to try it again soon!

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bellini January 20, 2012 at 8:58 am

We experienced -25C a few days ago so comforting soups like this are a bonus!!

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Alexis @ There She Goesa January 20, 2012 at 9:06 am

i think this soup sounds perfect for cold days! and i agree- making your own is always a better financial decision then takeout- if only i always followed through with that!

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Dana January 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

Well the cold has certainly hit us here in ny, so I’m all ready for this delicious looking soup! Can’t wait to try it!

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Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet January 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Looks delish Maris. I love Thai anything. :)

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camille January 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

My feeling when someone dislikes food that I know to be of the gods – for instance, peanut butter and chocolate – is “more for me!” So you go ahead and dislike it. And pass me yours when someone gives you some.

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A Plum By Any Other Name January 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Made some chicken broth last weekend and was feeling kind of gray about MORE chicken noodle soup. This would be a lovely change of pace. Just so happens I have a lonely half habanero pepper in my fridge. I’m just sayin’ …

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thatShortChick January 20, 2012 at 7:59 pm

sooo very thankful for the mixer!!

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The Teacher Cooks January 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Thai food is not something that I cook. The ones look delicious. So good to here from you!!!

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Greg January 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

That looks simple and really, really tasty!

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Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} January 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I agee with Greg, simple and easy is the way to go for dinners lately. Love the flavors in this soup, mmm coconut need I say more!

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RebeccaA January 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Wow…this sounds so exotic and so comforting at the same time. I wonder how it would be with tofu (I randomly prefer tofu to chix in Thai food)

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Angela January 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I’ve been doing a lot of soup as well, despite the balmy weather. (I am thinking we will not have many snow days this year.) This looks yum.

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Maureen January 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Thai curry chicken is one of our favorites for leftover chicken. It’s always on the menu the day after I roast a chicken. Yummy stuff.

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 22, 2012 at 12:29 am

It always makes me chuckle as we have the opposite season. We’re getting ready for bbqs and the beach. Despite the warm weather I’d love a bowl of this soup!

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Rosa January 22, 2012 at 5:33 am

So comforting, wonderfully exotic and delicious! The kind of soup I could eat every day.

Cheers,

Rosa

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Liz January 22, 2012 at 7:25 am

It’s definitely been back to soup weather this weekend…and your yummy Thai soup would be PERFECT! It looks amazing~

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Jamie January 22, 2012 at 7:26 am

We often eat or make Chinese, Japanese or Vietnamese but rarely, if ever, Thai and I don’t know why. The flavors are fabulous. This soup is perfect for any day but especially this winter we are having which is not half as cold as I wish it would be. But, then, we ain’t no Chicago…

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Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 22, 2012 at 7:44 am

I can’t imagine putting on a winter coat at the moment as it’s boiling hot here in Australia! I love Thai food though and I’d happily drink this soup even on a 30 degree day :D

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EA-The Spicy RD January 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Oh, how I love Thai soups (and Thai food). Can’t wait to put on my comfy socks and make a big pot of this!

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Geni January 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I have never made Thai anything because I have that son who eats only three things and let me tell you, your mother had it rough. It’s tough when you’re a foodie and your kid has the palate of a kindergartener. I won’t tell him that though, that will be our little secret. Anyhow, your soup looks fabulous. So beautiful and creamy and full of exotic flavors.

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Winnie January 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Looks fabulous…I love soups like this and always have coconut milk on hand for when Thai cravings strike ;)

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Autumn@Good Eats Girl January 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Maris, this soup looks wonderful!

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velva January 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I live in North Florida (hard to believe but we have a change of seasons). Growing-up in South Florida ( no change of seasons). I still can’t get my winter clothing right. I always look like I am ready for a summer day (laugh).

This Thai soup is beautiful. A warm, soulful soup. Thanks for sharing.
Velva

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Marsha @ The Harried Cook January 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Oh wow! I can just imagine the oodles of flavor this has… so yummy! Thanks for sharing, Maris!

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rebecca January 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm

great soup adore Thai flavors

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Mary January 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm

This is such a lovely soup.I love the addition of curry in your recipe. This is perfect food for a damp and cold winter day. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings…Mary

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peachkins January 23, 2012 at 2:19 am

That bowl of soup looks comforting. I am so sorry I missed your giveaway!

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Kitchen Belleicious January 23, 2012 at 6:44 am

this sounds amazing. I love chicken noodle soup but adding the curry and extra thai flavors brings it to a whole new level! Amazing!

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brandi January 24, 2012 at 8:16 am

perfect timing! i wanted to make a thai chicken soup soon – this looks great :)

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Rochelle (@AcquiredLife) January 27, 2012 at 8:09 am

I make something similar to this and it’s one of those things that is comfort food that isn’t your usual comfort food. The description is making me crave a big bowl of it too :)

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Alyssa January 27, 2012 at 8:17 am

Fantastic recipe! I love all things Thai, especially since most of their traditional ingredients are naturally gluten and dairy-free. It’s perfect!

This soup looks very delicious. I have my own take on Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup (http://queenofquinoa.blogspot.com/2011/12/thai-coconut-curry-chicken-soup.html), but will definitely be trying yours next time around!

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm

this sounds so perfect and warm and lovely!

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Samantha January 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I have been looking for a curry soup for quite sometime. I am thrilled that I came across your blog and now I have a new recipe. Yay! Thanks for the post. I can’t wait to try it.

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