Fast Recipes

Coconut-chicken soup with turmeric

A simple soup that will restore your spirits.

By Lisa Featherby
Coconut-chicken soup with turmeric
This noodle soup, with its base of turmeric, ginger, chilli and lemongrass, is not only simple to make, but restorative, too.


  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil or other neutral oil
  • 400 ml chicken stock
  • 800 ml coconut milk, well shaken
  • 300 gm dried flat rice noodles, soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes to soften
  • 2 chicken breasts (200gm each), halved horizontally and thickly sliced
  • Tamarind purée (see note) and fish sauce, to serve
  • Thinly sliced spring onion, coriander, chilli oil, bean sprouts and crisp shallots
    (optional), to serve
Spice paste
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 3 golden shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 30 gm ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 4 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, finely sliced
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground turmeric or 5gm fresh turmeric, chopped


  • 1
    For spice paste, combine ingredients in a jug and blend with a hand-held blender until a smooth paste, adding a little more oil or water if necessary.
  • 2
    Heat oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add spice paste and stir until fragrant and starting to smell roasted (2-3 minutes). Add stock and coconut milk, bring to the boil and season to taste with salt.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, drain noodles and divide among bowls.
  • 4
    Add chicken to soup, stir, then bring to a simmer and simmer until chicken is cooked through (5-6 minutes). Ladle soup over noodles and season with tamarind and fish sauce to taste. Top with spring onion, coriander, chilli oil, bean sprouts and shallots to serve.


Tamarind purée is available in jars from Asian grocers and select supermarkets. If it's unavailable, substitute lime juice.