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Thai Chicken Soup

gluten free thai chicken soup

I have to give full credit for this photo of Thai Chicken Soup to my boys. They helped me stage the shot and then sat with me at the computer to crop and size the photo. They are becoming such little artists, having far surpassed me in this arena.

The delicious Thai soup above is based on a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. My friend Deb got me hooked on this magazine last year when she gave me a subscription. The recipes in Cook’s Illustrated use fresh interesting combination of ingredients and often are not overly complicated.

We ate this soup for dinner tonight; I downed the bowl in the photo above as soon as I finished snapping the pictures; it is sweet, rather spicy and very comforting. After he finished his, my younger son said, “it was good; this is a happy, happy, happy soup.” That is a direct quote!

I am hoping that with more soup we can build more community. Many people have been leaving comments over here of late which is wonderful. I also want to take a moment to encourage people to respond to each others comments.

Jeanne, one of my regular readers, asked a question here. I hope that any of you who have experience in figuring out which foods work best for you will feel free to jump in and respond to her comment, it’s great when we can support one another…Now, back to soup!

Thai Chicken Soup


  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil or coconut oil
  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 8 sprigs cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 28 ounces coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
  • ½ pound crimini mushrooms
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 pound chicken breasts skinless-boneless, halved lengthwise, sliced on bias, cut into ⅛ inch thick pieces
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • garnish with:

  • ½ cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 serrano chilies, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup scallions

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
    1. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium heat
    2. Add shallots and cilantro, stirring frequently until softened –2 to 5 minutes
    3. Stir in stock, coconut milk and agave and bring to a simmer
    4. Pour broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids (shallot and cilantro)
    5. Return broth to saucepan
    6. Reduce heat to medium , add mushrooms and broccoli and cook until tender –2 to 3 minutes
    7. Add chicken and cook, stirring constantly, until no longer pink –1 to 3 minutes
    8. Combine lime juice, curry paste and fish sauce in a small bowl then stir into soup
    9. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro, chilies and scallions
    10. Serve with wedges of lime

This soup also works very well with leftover chicken. Leftovers are a great thing in so many ways. They save us trips to the store as well as time in the kitchen.

Other uses for leftover chicken? I use it to make a simple Mexican salad for dinner (salad greens with black beans, guacamole and salsa) and to add an extra hit of protein to this sesame noodle dish.

As you can see from the recipes on this blog, while I don’t eat the SAD (Standard American Diet), I do not feel deprived. I focus on the foods I can eat, create as much variety as possible and savor every morsel I put into my mouth! All in all, I feel happy and grateful to have access to the beautiful fresh foods that nourish me day in and day out.

posted on April 25, 2008, 53 comments

  1. Robin Rivers

    Whoa, I cannot wait to make this.
    It looks and sounds absolutely amazing.

  2. Debbie

    Yummy. Made this tonite w a few changes. DH does not like mushrooms or broccoli. I used chopped spinach. We both really enjoyed the flavors and mild warmth. I just love soup!
    BTW it goes good w a vanilla pineapple martini!!!

  3. Courtney Holden @ benefityourlifestore.com

    Elana and viewers-

    I read every blog you send our way… I have a recipe book of simple, low glycemic and scrumptious recipes that I have “intentions” on making. I cannot seem to get out of the rut of memorized dinners. It’s just me and my husband so I do not put alot of time into each night’s dinner. I like Elana’s recipes because ingredients seem to be repetitive and her recipes would not require a significant amount of time. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can start applying different dinners to my life? Do many of you make weekly menus for your family? What’s your best pre-planning advice? Any suggestion will help! Thanks!

    p.s.- Elana- My husband loves carrot cake… I want to make a version with walnuts, almond flour, agave, etc. I found one recipe at http://www.scdrecipe.com/recipes-cake/carrot-cake/ Do you have any suggestions on doctoring it up or have you seen a better version?

    • Teresa Baker

      I struggle a bit with meal planning as well! The best habit I have adopted is to make my grocery list on Sundays (I shop Monday morning). I plan for 5 meals and make myself try one new recipe per week. If my husband and 2 teenage boys give it a thumbs up then it makes it into the rotation! Pretty simple but it works for us! :)

  4. I changed the recipe because we are vegan. Instead of chicken stock I used a veggie stock, instead of chicken I added asparagus and baby corn and halved the curry paste. it was delicious. thank you.

  5. Great site! I found you from Gretchen’s Pantry. I would try your soup but mabey with shrimp, I don’t eat chicken. I love Thai flavors.

  6. Marc @ NoRecipes @ norecipes.com

    Looks so creamy and delicious! I love the coconut milk/lime juice combo.

  7. Robin -I hope you enjoy when you make it!

    Debbie -Love that you made changes and especially what you served it with…

    Courtney -Great to hear from you again and I am glad that you are enjoying this site. I like your question about pre-planning dinners and hope some others will chime in with advice. I find it helps to have a list of 14 dinners that we like and to simply rotate through them every two weeks. More on that later. I will put the carrot cake on my list to post for you –need to test it a few more times before it is blog-worthy.

    Shez -Your version sounds divine!

    Chef Erik -Thanks for stopping by. I bet this would be great with shrimp; thanks for that idea.

    Marc -It is creamy and delicious and keeps well too; I am still savoring it, had this soup again for lunch today.

  8. Courtney Holden @ benefityourlifestore.com

    Thanks for your reply Elana. Last night for dinner I made your fish sticks and your coconut flour chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I was so proud to smell the new aromas in my kitchen. That was the first time in a while I have served the same meal to my husband as well as myself. My husband has faith that your recipes may help save us! Right now I am eating a piece of leftover chocolate cake with fresh almond milk. It’s funny… this food makes me feel SO good and nourished. I have not enjoyed chocolate cake in years! I am looking forward to your take on Kelly’s Peanut Butter Bars!

  9. ~M

    Hi Courtney, Elana, and others,

    I agree – Elana’s recipes are amazing…every single one that I’ve tried just works – tastes great, nutritious, and minimal hassle. Keep up the great work, Elana!

    I am a 3L law student (getting ready for finals and the bar!) who usually only cooks for my fiancé. However, I love to cook – it’s my hobby, it reduces stress, and is so much fun for me.

    I do meal plan for several reasons:

    1. I like to make as few trips to the grocery store since I am busy.

    2. If I am using only half an ingredient for one thing, I want another recipe that will finish it off.

    3. I find that I reduce our grocery bill by meal planning – and usually we have enough to take packed lunches, which is extra important for me since I am gluten-free. On this note, I keep a grocery price comparison google spreadsheet with the products we use and the different stores’ prices so I can tell what is a good sale/deal.

    4. I can make sure we eat balanced meals this way by varying up dinners: meat, fish, vegetarian, salads, crockpot, soup, chili, breakfast-for-dinner, etc. There are so many great recipes out there that I want to try and meal planning helps me fit them in (I usually aim to have about 50% new recipes and 50% tried-and-true favorites).

    5. Last, since I meal plan on the same google doc as my grocery list, my fiancé can always see what’s for dinner…we both look forward to shopping, cooking, eating, and cleaning together.

    After the meal, I make notes about what to do – or not to do – for next time or list variations.

    I usually aim to have 1-2 baked goods per weekly meal plan too, although I often freeze over 1/2 of the baked goods for the future. I do not meal plan for breakfast or lunch, but throughout the week I update the list with leftovers that I might be inspired to use as lunches, snacks, or tucked into some deceptively delicious-style recipe…like a sweet potato.

    Also, keep in mind that if you are cooking recipes that serve more than two, you might want to have “leftovers” one day on your meal plan…we usually just eat leftovers for lunch since we enjoy our kitchen time together.

    When I see a recipe I like (I subscribe to many blogs via Google Reader), I send an e-mail to my fiancé asking him whether it similarly appeals to him, usually noting how I would “personalize it.” I also check out cookbooks from the library for inspiration. I keep in mind what is in season (tastes best and usually is cheaper) and cooking accordingly (the seasonal produce list is on my grocery/meal planning doc, as well as the list of the 12 most contaminated foods and 12 “cleanest foods”). I look forward to shopping for random fruits and vegetables this summer at the farmer’s market, googling for recipes that use those new ingredients, and then filling in the gaps with my regular grocery store tips. I am also in the process of compiling a list of 30- minutes-or-less recipes for when I’ll be swamped with work this summer and to help my younger brother start cooking for himself.

    Let me know if you have any further questions…and I also look forward to Elana’s carrot cake!

  10. Courtney -Thanks as always for your comment. I am proud of you and the new smells in your kitchen too! I am glad that you are feeling nourished by the recipes, that is my intention and it is great that your husband is enjoying them too. It is so nice when a family can break “bread” together. :-)

  11. CeliacChick @ celiacchicks.com

    Mmmm…you just inspired me to order this for lunch! I had forgotten about how much I love this stuff! So, where would I buy Thai red curry paste? Is it at Whole Foods?

  12. ~M -Your organizational capacities are astounding! Good thing you’ll be putting them to use as a lawyer! I hope Courtney reads this for some great tips.

    CC -Thanks for stopping by. I buy my Thai curry paste at a regional health food store called Vitamin Cottage –the store is about 40% cheaper than Whole Foods and further it carries only organic produce (no conventional). You can buy the Thai Kitchen curry paste online by clicking the link above or check out WF, I bet they have it there.

  13. Courtney


    I was just reading over these comments to see if anyone had any suggestions yet… you gave me more than I had hoped for. Thank you! Seeing that you are a 3L law student proves to me that cooking doesn’t have to be a time consuming task. I love good food! Having had suffered from an eating disorder for so long, the chaos of too many ingredients and too much time in the kitchen is extremely overwhelming to me. I have heard it said that, “if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” If I do not plan and stock my kitchen with alternatives to wheat and high glycemic foods, my mental health suffers big time. I have had test show that certain foods actually effect my pituitary gland. Back to drawing board for me!

  14. Courtney & ~M,
    I so enjoy corresponding with each of you and am glad that the two of you are in touch! This is a very good thing! xo Elana

  15. Kitchen Goddess

    Looks absolutely gorgeous. A fabulous meal.

    Great site too :)

  16. Kitchen Goddess -Thanks; we’ve been eating a lot of this soup lately. I am very into it as is my hub.

  17. Chris

    I just made this tonight and it was outstanding. I used green curry paste instead of red because that’s what I had and it tasted just like the tom kai gai I get at Zheng’s, which I love!

  18. Chris -Thanks for the report; I think it is great when people adapt my recipes to suit their needs and to the ingredients they have on hand. Glad you liked it :-)

  19. ~M

    I have been craving a good Asian-inspired soup…how wrong would it be to just use one 14 oz can of coconut milk and 2-3 extra cups of chicken stock? I think 28 oz coconut milk might might be too rich for my system.

  20. ~M,

    Not wrong at all; a fine idea indeed.


  21. Karen

    Loved the soup! Next time I might add a few more vegies to it, and maybe leave the shallots in or puree them and add to the stock. Shrimp sounds good too! I am new to your site, and will definitely be making more of your recipes.

  22. Bobbi

    Just made this tonight and added baby boc choy. It was great. Our 3-year old ate it right up and asked for more. Thank you!

  23. Jessica

    I just discovered your blog and am so looking forward to trying these recipes! and you seem so lovely! Thank you so much for your community spirit and your positive attitude

  24. Thanks for your lovely comments everyone :-)

  25. Stacie K

    I love this recipe! Thai offers so much flavor with lots of options for us GF eaters. I used slivered snow peas in place of broccoli-not as nutritious but loved the added crunch. Thanks Elana-you keep me inspired to cook clean, healthy, and delicious foods!

  26. Faith

    This recipe sounds great! But,I read somewhere that fish sauce was a hidden source of gluten in Thai food. Not sure why this would be the case, but would like to be certain that this is indeed a safe ingredient. I love Thai food and fish sauce adds so much flavor. What exactly is fish sauce and what is in it? Thanks for your help.

  27. Elana,

    I uploaded one of your pictures from Flickr to my web site.

    The image is a click able link back to your images.

    Looks delicious. Bookmarked your site.

    Thank you

  28. Kelley


    I ‘stumbled’ across your site in search of a healthy birthday cake recipe for my 1 year old daughter. Her birthday is in a week so I haven’t tried the cake & frosting recipe yet; however, I am in LOVE with your site! My husband and I made the Thai Soup this evening and, oh my gosh, thank you!! It’s fantastic! (It was even better several hours later for a midnight snack!) I can’t wait to try the cake and lots more of your wonderful ideas. I am also amazed by the beauty of the photos – we eat with our eyes first and my mouth is watering! I’m totally inspired!! :)

    Thank you,

  29. Dionne

    I hope this comment gets to Nicole!
    Please check out http://www.LDNinfo.org
    for the fibro and chronic fatigue.
    I too had these conditions and many more and am 100% well due to diet restrictions and LDN and cleansing. So much so, that I only avoid gluten, dairy and sugar now, and am 100% healthy!

  30. lawrence

    Thanks Elana…this is the second time i have made this soup…very nice and warming in this rainy british weather! I added some big shrimp with the chicken which made it even tastier!

  31. LearningMama

    ohhhh, mmmmm, hopefully you can hear my contented sighs from this amazing soup. So wonderful! I’m glad I bought all the ingredients for this recipe. I was a little nervous purchasing the fish sauce, but I’ve used it twice this week with your recipes. Can’t wait to try more recipes with the red curry paste. I look forward to making this soup often, this freezing Colorado winter.

  32. KB

    Are these recipes ok for someone wanting to lose weight? I work out , watch what I eat but miss scrumptious flavors!! Thanks

  33. ~M

    Hi Elana,

    I wanted to follow up on this soup. It’s SO delicious! I have recently been able to tolerate coconut milk better than before so I went with your proportions of stock and coconut milk. I usually dislike broccoli, especially in soup, but here it was wonderful…so were the mushrooms which soaked up the curry-coconut goodness. The one change I made was that I braised the chicken breasts whole and then shredded them by hand…I prefer that texture to sliced pieces, and the shreds hold onto the soup a bit better. It also reheats beautifully, even in the microwave at work. I’ll definitely be making this again!

  34. JKH

    Absolutely delicious! I’ve been trying to change my family over to our ‘new’ eating plan, and not without some struggles. My 3 year old happily ate her portion, and my husband, who is normally not a soup fan, was very enthusiastic about this. Thank you!

  35. Kare

    Absolutely delicious!! However, as some others mentioned, I had to add more chicken broth on our second meal…the coconut milk was a bit too heavy for me. We also added more of the Thai curry paste. And we didn’t discard the cilantro and shallots. Such a wonderful soup!

  36. Kim Weisberg @ kvmx@aol.com

    Hi there! I love this soup very much, but I have a question. I have made it several times and it never looks like the picture. My color is very very light, how do you get that beautiful orange color? DO you add more spicy?


  37. Jill

    I’m wondering if using “light” coconut milk would be fine, or if you think the regular full-fat version is necessary for the success of this recipe?

    Thank you!

  38. Kirsten

    If I didn’t use mushrooms, would it taste different? I really want to make this soup but I don’t have any mushrooms.

  39. Angela

    I made this last night and it was soooo good. Thank you for the recipe I will try to make one a week.

  40. Amanda Serna

    Tried this soup tonight and have to share that it was delicious! Thank you so much for sharing such wonderful recipes. My husband and I have tried many of your other recipes and are always delighted with them. The only changes I made with this soup is that I used coconut oil instead of grape seed and we added a little sriracha sauce as a garnish (we love our Thai spicy!). We also left out the fish sauce as my husband’s not a fan of the stuff. Thanks, again and I can’t wait to try more! Amanda

  41. Anissa R.

    I tried your soup, I left the cilantro and shallots in and added sriracha, which gave it the spicy taste I was looking for. Thanks!!!

  42. Johanna

    This was great! Turned out the chicken I’d bought was bad (!) so, no chicken, but we didn’t miss it! I also added a bit of minced ginger and a little Chinese garlic-chili paste – my husband has a head cold and wanted to make sure he could taste it. Also, simply because we had it, I put some cooked white rice in the bowls first, then ladled the soup on top – maybe this, too, helped us not miss the chicken so much.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  43. I am excited to try the Thai Chicken Soup. I just bought Almond Flour and making Monster cookies with it. A friend brought some over and they were yummy. They have raisins, cocunut, and nuts in them. I felt like I was eating REAL cookies before my GF world.

  44. Sabina

    This soup is soooo tasty! I plan on making it again tonight! I’ve subbed in kale, red peppers and broccoli for the mushrooms as my husband doesn’t like them…it’s officially my favorite comfort soup now, thank you for the recipe!

  45. I made this soup today and it was awesome. My husband loved it too. I am looking forward to trying many other recipes on this site.

  46. claudine

    Hi Elana!
    I just found your website! I have scrolled through many of them and cant wait to try the list I have bookmarked! I am eager to get started eating healthier, because for some odd reason I have detoured away and stepped on the scale to be alarmed of my eating habits! Thank you for inspiring me!

  47. Alex

    Made this soup and it was outstanding. Just wondering what the nutritional facts are?

  48. Shauna

    Made this soup last night. Husband and I loved it! We added extra carrots and beans and omitted the chillies. Thanks for such a great recipe Elana.

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