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Hot and Sour Thai Chicken Soup. An Easy 15 Minute Spicy Thai Recipe

Updated on April 28, 2009

Thais make it look so easy – cooking as it probably should be done, with a minimum of fuss and bother and with an emphasis in good fresh ingredients, put together for the most part in a pretty short period of time.

I just watched (and then ate) my wife making a quick spicy and sour chicken soup. She made it from "scratch" starting with chicken bones and all that, and had it on the table, from start to finish, in about 10 minutes. And it was good, as most of her cooking is.

Compare that with much of what we are taught in the west, whereby the process of making a soup stock alone can take hours.

In any case, the soup I just had was so good that I've pestered my wife to share her recipe (she keeps saying "there is no recipe…you just make spicy chicken soup?) and so here it is.

Spicy and Sour Thai Style Chicken Soup

  • Chicken bones, cut into 1 inch chucks (Use your cleaver) – about 1 lb is plenty for a small family pot of soup
  • About 4 or 5 cups of water
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass, cut into couple inch sections (it’s a good idea to smash the lemongrass a bit, to smoosh out the tangy flavors prior to tossing it in the pot)
  • 2 or 3 lime leaves
  • 1-20 smashed and chopped Thai bird chilies, depending on your love of spice
  • A few thin slices of fresh galangal root (about ½ Tbls worth). If you don’t have this on hand, the soup will survive just fine without it.
  • 3 or 4 shallots, roughly chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped into 1 inch sections
  • 3 sprigs of cilantro, also chopped into 1 inch sections
  • 2 Tbls of fish sauce (there is great variation in the potency of fish sauces. You will need to taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary.
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1tsp of MSG (optional)
  • About ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lime juice

Easy Steps

  1. In a pot, combine the water, chicken bones, lemon grass, lime leaves, shallots and galangal slices, chilies, salt and fish sauce and bring it all to a boil.
  2. Boil for about 10 minutes, skimming any scummy stuff off the top as it comes.
  3. Add in the remaining ingredients, turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. If the soup tastes watery, add in more MSG or fish sauce (both contain "mouth filling" glutamates). Add more lime juice to taste if desired.

Serve with steamed jasmine rice for a very quick and easy hot and sour Thai soup.


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