Photo: John Autry; Styling: Cindy Barr
6 servings

Look for Kaffir lime leaves and galangal—also known as Thai ginger—at ethnic markets and gourmet grocers. If you can't find them, use an extra 1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh lemongrass to flavor the broth. You can use regular ginger in place of galangal.

How to Make It

Step 1

Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; stir in lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Return broth to pan; add curry paste, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken; cook 3 minutes or until chicken is done. Add coconut milk, stirring well to combine. Stir in fish sauce and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; stir in onions, juice, and 1/4 cup cilantro.

Step 2

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Add noodles to coconut milk mixture. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; sprinkle evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro.

Ratings & Reviews

JessicaJJM's Review

February 06, 2014
I'm a huge fan of most recipes on this site and was excited to make this one because of the ratings. But was disappointed. It was more of a grey stew than a soup. And was "ok" tasting, nothing to write home about or even save in my recipe folder. Would not make again.

prettypurplekao's Review

August 08, 2013
This recipe was A-MAZING. The only alterations I made is I used pad thai noodles instead of wide rice noodles. I used seafood instead of chicken (flounder, scallops, shrimp. and clams). And I also left the lemongrass in the soup to continue to simmer instead of removing it. This was a big mistake. The lemongrass never got soft enough to be edible and it made the stew grainy. Next time I don't believe I will chop the lemon grass so small. I will leave it a bit large so it is easy to remove after the cooking process. This tutorial is helpful for those who haven't used lemongrass in cooking before . At least it was helpfpul to me. Also it was very easy to find kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and lemongrass at Korean grocery stores in Atlanta. Also I did not tear the kaffir lime leaves. I read that you should not do this! You remove them after the cooking process as well.

sukeedog's Review

September 08, 2012
Delicious! I normally use leftover rotisserie chicken for this to save time, but simmering the broth is absolutely worth it. I haven't been able to track down Kaffir lime leaves (even in NYC!), but using extra lemongrass seems to work out fine. And although I agree with some of the other reviewers that buying this soup from a Thai restaurant might be cheaper and easier, that's sort of missing the point. I cook because I love to cook (like most other folks on this site, I suspect), and I like knowing/controlling what goes into my family's food. Cooking your own version of something at home will almost always be healthier, too.

allyooop's Review

June 26, 2011
For a quick soup, this is pretty good. It's basically Tom Yum soup with a few tweaks. TIP: Do the rice noodles in Step 1, not Step 4. I made the mistake of waiting until the end to open the package, only to find out that the rice noodles I had wanted a 30-45 min soak in warm water. My other gripe is that because with the lemongrass, red curry paste & specialty mushrooms, it got rather expensive for a soup, especially considering one could probably go down to the local Thai restaurant and get something similar. already prepared, that would probably taste better (because it's been simmering longer, etc.) for $4. Normal buttom mushrooms would be just fine. That said, I might do it again - the coconut curry broth is good and I could see using that to add various proteins, veggies etc.

EllenDeller's Review

June 20, 2011
This is truly outstanding. I made the whole recipe and my husband ate so much of it that we finished it! Served with the delicious CL sushi-rice salad as a side dish. My only changes were to sub ginger for galangal, eliminate the green onions and substitute a few chopped chives, and add a 1/3 cup of frozen peas. The steeping method of flavoring the broth is remarkable and really pays off in the end product. This would also be good with shrimp added or tofu.

MommyMelli's Review

February 12, 2011
This has become a staple in our monthly menu. Outstanding and not time consuming to prepare. Get all of the right groceries ( is great for the produce and curry paste, etc.). Sometimes I use clam broth and shrimp instead of chicken/chicken broth. I use a Panang curry paste that I think just puts this over the top. Usually serve with eggrolls.

parrotkabob's Review

November 21, 2010
Awesome Hotpot however I did make quite a few changes. I used my own red currie which I made in the summer and froze into cubes, I made this hotpot with extra firm tofu,crimini mushrooms,carrots,bok choy,onions, green onions,garlic,fresh ginger, lime zest since its difficult to get kafir lime leaves. I did have lemon grass and froze a bunch. I also used rice stick noodles. I did follow the technique with the broth and I would make this again...flavorfull on a cold evening.Time consuming but worth it.

hollyaustin1's Review

November 02, 2010
I have had the real thing at BUKU in Raleigh (the restaurant in the article where this recipe comes from.) It is always delicious, and I think this recipe is very close to the original. It is fantastic!

Cansas's Review

October 20, 2010
Very good flavor in this rich soup despite my substitutions: I only had about 1/2 the amount of lemongrass, I used regular ginger instead of galangal, and I used lime rind in place of the lime leaves.

molly707's Review

October 05, 2010
This was really good! It required a lot of ingredients, but I finally have a great curry base. This is a great winter recipe. I made a few changes - adding tofu instead of chicken, and some spinach too. Mine was especially low fat - I doubled the recipe, but didn't double the coconut milk. I didn't miss that second can.