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This super easy, comforting Thai chicken soup is full of wonderful aromas of traditional Thai herbs that truly represents simple home cooking of southern Thailand. I particularly love this dish because you literally throw everything into a pot and let it go - it doesn't get easier than this! It's also gluten-free!
Turmeric, the star of the dish, is an herb that's not used too often in Thai cuisine as a whole, but it is used a LOT in the south! I strongly suggest you use fresh turmeric root here rather than ground, because it can be very easy to over-do powdered turmeric which gives the soup a too-medicinal taste.
If you love a good comforting chicken soup, I highly recommend checking out this tom kha gai soup recipe! It uses many of the same herbs as in this soup, minus the turmeric but with the addition of coconut milk. It's a bit richer and creamier, and is the perfect way to sooth a cold!
For a Thai chicken soup that uses no hard-to-find ingredients, try this super nostalgic chicken potato soup.
Do ahead tips: This is one of those dishes that taste even better the next day, so if you can, make it in advance!
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Turmeric Chicken Soup ไก่ต้มขมิ้น
- Yield: Serves 4
- 1.5 lb (700g) chicken drumettes (see note)
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 3 small heads shallots, roughly chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 stalks lemongrass, bottom half only, smashed and cut into 2 inch sections
- 7-8 thin rounds of galangal
- 5 kaffir lime leaves, roughly torn
- 7-8 slices turmeric root (sliced on a sharp bias)
- Fresh Thai chilies, crushed, to taste and/or ground white pepper
- Salt, to taste
- 2 Tbsp tamarind juice
- Fresh chopped cilantro or green onion for garnish
Note: If you want to use boneless chicken, go with dark meat, and then you MUST use a good chicken stock instead of water.
Marinade chicken wings in fish sauce and sugar for at least 1 hour (the longer the better).
Add chicken to a pot and add just enough water to cover the chicken by about 1 inch. Add shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and turmeric and bring to a simmer.
Simmer the chicken gently over low heat, loosely covered, for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fork tender.
Once the chicken is tender, add tamarind juice and salt to taste. If you plan on serving this with rice, make sure you make the seasoning a bit stronger. If you want it spicy, crush some Thai chilies and stir into the soup, or add some ground white pepper for more subtle heat.
Ladle into a bowl and top with chopped cilantro or green onions. Serve on its own or with jasmine rice, enjoy!
I went to the market to buy chicken wings, took a look at the crazy high price, and bought chicken legs and boneless thighs instead. I used water with 5 legs and 3 boneless thighs, which I cut in chunks. It made a great stock! I also cooked the chicken and water in the Instant Pot for 3 minutes, and then continued the recipe with the IP on Sauté.. Right before the soup was done cooking, I pulled out the chicken legs, and removed the meat, which I returned to the pot. Finally, I had some snow pea pods that I wanted to use up, and dropped them in the soup the last few minutes of cooking. I'm sure they weren't traditional, but I always like to get a vegetable in this one pot meal. Even with these changes, I think I stayed pretty true to the recipe, and it was excellent!
Excellent, flavorful soup! I did not have turmeric root, so I used turmeric powder and it was still delicious.
Yum!! First time cooking with lemongrass, and making broth with wings. I added mushrooms to simmer with the chicken. Thanks for the recipe!
Totally delish (aroy ma)!! Thank you, Pailin!!
This was the first of Pai’s recipes that I tried. I’ve been seeing fresh turmeric root in the local market, and we’ve all been hearing a lot about the health benefits. It’s an easy soup to make, and so satisfying. I used whole wings, separated at the joint, which was a mistake for me because I made it to take to work for lunch, and I found it impossible to eat the wings without making a mess of my shirt! 😀 Next time I think I’ll try chopped up bone-in chicken.