Thai food is famous for having a powerhouse of flavor in every bite, and this Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup is no exception. A lot of times, we shy away from cooking Thai food because many recipes call for exotic ingredients (galangal, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s-eye chiles?!), most of which are not readily available unless you live near an Asian market. This recipe will grab you with all the complex flavors of spicy ginger, bright lemon, warm red curry as well as sweet coconut. And I bought every single ingredient for this flavorful soup at my local grocer.
This is not a dump-everything-in-all-at-once-and-four-hours-later-you-have-soup kind of slow cooker meal. But it is still super easy and simple.
Your microwave is going to be your friend in helping the onions, garlic, ginger and oil “become one”. Then, most of the ingredients will simmer in the cooker for four to six hours. Mushrooms go in later so they just have time to absorb the amazing spices and coconut milk without shriveling beyond recognition. The recipe calls for two cans of coconut milk, one of which goes in at the very end to maintain more of the rich coconut flavor that is indicative of many Thai dishes.
The chicken is perfectly tender, the bold flavors from the curry paste, lemon zest and fish sauce (which does not taste fishy, by the way) blend well with the onions, garlic and ginger. Different textures from the carrots, mushrooms and garnishes bring everything home for a unique comfort-food meal.
So, pull out your Crock Pot or slow cooker, head to the local grocer and make this no-fail soup that is packed with a variety of warm, sweet, bright flavors with just the right touch of heat that is controlled in each individual bowl.
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup
- 2 onions, minced
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk, divided (Do not put both in at beginning of recipe. See instructions)
- Zest of one lemon
- 3 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce, divided
- 10 cilantro stems, tied together with twine
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice from 2 limes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste. Thai Kitchen brand is taste tested best
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 fresh jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and sliced thin
- 2 scallions, sliced thin
- Lime wedges for serving
- Microwave onions, garlic, ginger, and oil in bowl, stirring occasionally; until onions are softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to slow cooker.
- Stir broth, 1 can coconut milk, grated lemon, carrots, 1 tablespoon fish sauce, and cilantro stems into slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and nestle into slow cooker. Cover and cook until chicken is tender, 4 to 6 hours on low.
- Transfer chicken to cutting board, let cool slightly, then shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks to pull the chicken apart. Discard cilantro stems. Do not return chicken to soup just yet.
- Stir in mushrooms, cover, and cook on high for 15 minutes. Microwave remaining can of coconut milt in bowl until hot, about 3 minutes, then whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and curry paste to dissolve.
- Stir hot coconut milk mixture and shredded chicken into soup and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with garnishes.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.