Chicken soup with lime leaf, lemongrass and coconut recipe by Claire Thomson

<span>Chicken soup with lime leaf, lemongrass and coconut.</span><span>Photograph: Sam Folan</span>
Chicken soup with lime leaf, lemongrass and coconut.Photograph: Sam Folan

This soup is based on a tom kah gai or tom kah kai, a sour, fragrant soup made with chicken, coconut milk, lime leaves, lemongrass and fresh chilli. It is simply delicious – all at once vibrant and refreshing, soothing and restorative. I have eaten similar soups to this on various trips to Thailand, but also in Cambodia and Laos. I swear it is the best chicken soup I’ll eat.

Serves 4
chicken stock 1.5 litres
lime leaves 4, thinly sliced
lemongrass stalks 3, trimmed and cut into thirds
bird’s-eye red or green chillies 3-6, ½ thinly sliced, ½ left whole, to taste
fresh galangal 4 slices (or ginger)
coriander ½ small bunch, leaves chopped and stalks separated
cherry tomatoes 150g, cut in half
full-fat coconut milk 200ml
chicken 400g, boneless, skinless (thigh is best), diced
small button mushrooms 150g
limes juice of 2
fish sauce 2 tbsp, plus more to taste

Heat the chicken stock in a large pot over a high heat.

Meanwhile, bruise the lime leaves, lemongrass, whole chillies, galangal (or ginger) and coriander stalks in a mortar and pestle (or use a bowl and the end of a rolling pin), then add them along with the tomatoes to the hot stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, chicken and mushrooms, bring the liquid back to a boil, then reduce the heat to moderate and cook for about 5-8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove from the heat and add the sliced chillies, lime juice, fish sauce and chopped coriander leaves, adjusting with more of each, to your taste. Serve ladled into bowls immediately.

From One Pan Chicken by Claire Thomson (Quadrille, £20). To order a copy for £17.60 go to