Quick and easy, this soup is aromatic and tasty. Lemon Grass soup is probably the most popular and well known soup from Thailand. This recipe shows very well what makes Thai cuisine so unique.Thai dishes successfully combine the main taste elements simultaneously: bitter, salty, sweet and sour.
Some people might not be familiar with all the ingredients in this recipe, so I will provide a quick description for some of the lesser known items.
Lemon Grass: Also known as citronella. Lemon grass are long pale green stalks ending on a bulb, similar to spring onions. You should only use the bottom part, about the last 5 inches. Most people remove it from a dish before serving because it is so fibrous. You could also leave it in and then it would be up to the soup slurpers to avoid eating them.
Galangal: A member of the ginger family that looks similar to fresh root ginger, but with a more translucent skin and pinkish tint. Best used fresh, but it is also available dry or as a powder.
Chilli: There are many different kinds of chillies. The small, red and green fresh chillies, known as Thai or bird’s eye are really hot, but the larger varieties are milder. Always remember to wash your hands immediately after using them.
This soup works great as a natural cold remedy. The combination of the ginger and chillies provide instant relief from cough and soreness in the throat.
Just make sure to serve this dish right away. If you let it sit for too long the bitterness in the chillies becomes really strong.
- 4 cups of water or chicken broth
- 1 stick lemon grass, trimmed and bashed
- 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half (or 2 tbsp. lime juice)
- 1 inch galangal root (or ginger root) slice into thin rounds
- 2 fresh hot chillies, chopped
- 3 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. palm sugar or granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp. chili paste (optional)
- 3 oz. (85 g) enoki mushrooms or button mushrooms, quartered
- 10 oz. (300 g) chicken breast, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp. lime juice
- Fresh coriander leaves or chopped green onions to garnish
- The chicken breast could be replaced with 10 oz. (300 g) of large shrimps or prawns, shelled and deveined
- Heat 4 cups of water in a cooking pot to boiling.
- Bash the lemon grass with a flat of a chef's knife once, and then cut into 1 inch pieces and add to the stock together with torn kaffir lime leaves and the chopped chillies.
- Simmer gently for 5 minutes, until the stalks change colour and the stock is fragrant. Add the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and chillie paste and boil for another 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken, cover and cook over high heat or until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add a little bit of coriander leaves in the pot before transferring to a soup bowl.
- Decorate with fresh coriander leaves or chopped green onions.