Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

Fall seven times and stand up eight.
Japanese Saying
Hope your New Year is off to a great start. If you are like me, perhaps you too have ventured away from the path you set off on at the beginning of the New Year. Last night, after ten days of eating mindfully and healthfully,  I succumbed to a ridiculous amount of chocolate. Head-achy and foggy brained, I am feeling very sheepish and disappointed in myself. I was doing so good! In the midst of my self-wallowing, a Japanese saying came back to me. The quote, given to me many years ago by a very dear friend, has saved me over and over from myself. Gently, it summons me to get back up, and realign myself with my intentions. No judgment.
A steaming bowl of Thai Chicken Noodle Soup – healthy, low fat, gluten free and full of amazing Thai flavors – is just what is need to get back on track.  It’s like mom’s chicken noodle soup, with a twist.  Chicken stock is infused with Thai ingredients like lemongrass and ginger to create a flavorful base for the soup. If you are unfamiliar with Thai ingredients, don’t fret, the crucial ones for this recipe are available at most grocery stores. But if you are feeling a little curious and adventurous, and would like to venture out to your local Asian market, this would be a great opportunity to explore all the wonderful things they have to offer. There are a couple ingredients in the recipe that are found mostly in Asian markets, which are optional in the recipe, but are a nice added touch if you are so inclined to go.  It’s good to familiarize yourself with new ingredients, so when they do show up in recipes, you won’t be too scared off.
If you have the time to make this flavorful lemongrass  broth, a day before serving, I highly recommend it. It really allows the flavors to meld. Make the broth at night, refrigerate, then finish the soup right before serving the next day. Of course, you can make it all once as well.
When making a trip to the Asian Market …go on day that you have time to meander down every isle and get familiar. Don’t let the smells bother you, just take in the whole experience. You will find that ingredients are usually less expensive than purchasing at the grocery store. Some Asians stores also have a bulk section, which is perfect for our catering business.
Here is a list of ingredients that I always take with me when I go to the Asian Market- that way I don’t forget, because it’s easy to get distracted.
Black sesame seeds- in a bag
Toasted Sesame seeds – in a bag
Frozen chopped lemongrass
Frozen Keffir Lime leaves ( or fresh)
Fresh mushrooms
Fresh herbs
Seasonal and unusual vegetables, fruit, chilies
Fresh rice noodles in the refrigerated section
Fresh Tofu
Quail eggs
Galanga Root
Fresh Turmeric Root
Dried Chile Threads
Toasted Sesame oil
Dried whole red Chilies for wok stir fry
Coconut milk
Miso Paste
Rice Vinegar
Korean Chili paste
Sriracha Sauce
Black vinegar
Rice cooking wine
Oyster Sauce
Fish Sauce
Shrimp paste
Peanut Oil
Whole spices
Spring roll wrappers
Fried Shallots
Fermented Black beans
Korean Chili Paste
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Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Thai
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A flavorful Bowl of Thai chicken Noodle soup, scented with lemongrass and ginger.
  • ½ Yellow or white Onion thinly Sliced
  • ¼ C Ginger, peeled and rough chopped
  • ¼ C lemongrass, rough chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic -sliced
  • 1-2 T oil
  • 12 C chicken Stock or broth
  • 2 tsp Thai style fish sauce-
  • 5-6 keffir lime leaves (
  • optional
  • - available at Asian markets)
  • ¼ C sliced galanga (
  • optional
  • - available at Asian markets)
  • ----
  • 1 ½ lbs chicken breast or thigh sliced into uniform ½ inch thick, bite size pieces
  • 4 oz slice mushrooms ( optional)
  • 4-6 oz. vermicelli rice stick noodles, kelp noodles or angel hair pasta
  • ½ C chopped cilantro
  • 4 scallions chopped
  • 1 fresh red chili pepper- medium hot
  • 1 lime cut into wedges
  • bean sprouts ( optional, but delish)
  • hot chili sauce ( sriracha, sambal oelek or hot chili oil)
  1. *If you have time to make this flavorful broth ahead, like the night before or the morning before, and then refrigerate, letting all the flavors meld- this would be ideal. Then when ready to serve, Strain, heat broth and add the rest of the ingredients. But you can also just make all in one shot.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil, over med high heat. Add onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring, until golden and tender. Turn heat to Med. Add ginger, and saute a few more minutes. Add lemongrass and garlic and galanga ( optional). Keep stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Then add Chicken stock and fish sauce and lime leaves ( optional) . Bring to a boil, turn heat down so stock is simmering ( low boil) and let simmer on medium heat ( or medium low) uncovered for about 20-30 minutes. This simmering will allow the broth to reduce just a bit and become more concentrated and flavorful.
  3. Don't be temped to add chillies to the simmering stock, it will end up too spicy. If possible, refrigerate this overnight or for 8 hours before straining. If its not an option, just strain the stock, and continue with recipe.
  4. After refrigerating, or after the stock has simmered 30 minutes, strain the stock. Bring strained stock to a boil. Add chicken pieces, noodles and mushrooms ( optional), keeping stock at low boil, and stir occasionally until chicken is cooked through and noodles are cooked, about 7-8 minutes.
  5. Taste for salt. (After my stock reduced, I did not need to add salt, but all stocks are different. So please salt to taste.) When ready to serve, stir in ½ the scallions.
  6. Top steaming bowls of soup with cilantro, scallions, bean sprouts (optional, but give a great crunch) , a few red slice chilies and serve with lime wedge and little hot sriracha sauce, sambal oelek, or even hot chili oil.
thanks for sharing!
thanks for sharing!


  1. says

    One look at the picture and I was craving this for dinner! I will hold off and only make the broth today! Thank you for the great list of ingredients to look for in an Asian Market. There were a few I had never heard of (galanga root). Do you have a favorite Asian Market in Spokane? And one more question-do you like/use the Red Boat Fish sauce?

  2. says

    I posted earlier but I am not sure it entered. I knew I wanted to make this for dinner as soon as I saw the lovely photo. I will contain myself however and only make the broth today. I appreciate the list of items to purchase at an Asian Market. Can you recommend one in Spokane? And do you like the Red Boat fish sauce?

  3. says

    Saturday evening, I fell off the wagon hard too at girl’s night. I had eaten soooo well and then BOOM a bottle of wine, tons of chocolate, and tortilla chips later, I felt exactly as you described..head-achey and down on myself. BUT I love your quote and fully believe in staying optimistic and not judging yourself. This soup is the ultimate way of getting back on track! I love all the delicious Thai flavors and I bet it calms the post-chocolate hangover and makes you feel all is right with the world again. Sluuuuuuuuurp!

  4. says

    Love this list of ingredients to purchase at the Asian Market. Clever and so spot on! I get so overwhelmed when I step in those markets! And, the soup, sounds fantastic. Consider it bookmarked, pinned and tweeted!

  5. Anonymous says

    Thank you for the post, I have been sick and began to crave a chicken noodle soup that a local Thai joint makes. I ended up poaching two bone-in chicken breasts for my broth (I added a quart of store bought to stretch it). I was able to find galangal and kaffir lime leaves and I can’t imagine this soup without those two ingredients. I made an addition inspired by my Thai haunt’s soup: I minced about ten garlic cloves and browned them in oil, adding that to the soup around the same time as the chicken. The garlic provided lots of flavor. I also used the small flat rice stick noodles. They’re like small linguine as opposed to the regular vermicelli which is much narrower, like angel hair. Again, this was part of my attempt to recreate the version I’ve had at the local hole-in-the-wall. My only difficulty with the recipe was that it didn’t state how much noodles to use, so I ended up throwing in a half package (8 oz). That was too much, and almost turned my soup into a casserole. Next time I think I’ll opt for about 3-4 oz. I also used brown beech mushrooms which were great.

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