Spicy Thai Soup


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…my husband loves soup. I, myself, am inherently NOT a soup lover. I like to chew my food. But recently…my ways have changed. Maybe it’s the cold, and the fact that we now live in the suburbs so we really feel the cold (not like the forced heat in NYC), or maybe it’s the pregnancy, but I have found myself being open to the idea of soup as a meal, when I previously was not.

I created the start of this recipe a few years ago, when I convinced Michael to do his first Whole30 with me. Ordering Tom Yum soup from our local NYC Thai spot was our Sunday night ritual, but most Tom Yums have soy sauce and sugar in them, so they’re a no-go on any kind of elimination diet. I set out to create a similar spicy broth, full of satiating umami flavor, and think I nailed it.

The recipe has evolved over the years—there’s a reason I’m calling it Spicy Thai Soup and NOT Tom Yum (or rather several reasons). After making this soup a bunch of times it occurred to me that I actually don’t enjoy eating stewed tomatoes in a traditional Tom Yum, and Michael doesn’t like mushrooms. Once those are removed it’s basically just a spicy Chicken Soup, so I wanted to do something to add some nutrients back in (by way of vegetables). If you’re in to tomatoes and mushrooms, please go ahead and throw them in to your heart’s content. If you’re looking for an alternative, may I suggest frozen kale and kelp noodles?

We dig the kelp noodles in our house. They don’t really taste like anything—except the broth they simmer in—and they add a more hearty aspect to the soup to “beef it up” if you will, while adding minimal calories. Not to mention, they’re FULL of micronutrients, some of them, like iodine, that are hard to get in other places. We use sea salt in our house, not iodized table salt, so I’m always thinking about sneaky ways to add a little iodine back in. We also throw in half a bag of frozen kale, because well, why not? Kale is pretty harmless when it’s coming to you in tiny pieces in a spicy soup.

I make this in my instant pot, but feel free to simmer away stove top, or put it in your slow cooker. If you’re using either of those methods, you really just have to make sure that the chicken is cooked, so slice it thin if you want it ready quickly.

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What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil or avocado oil

  • 1 white onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 8 cups bone broth or chicken stock

  • 1 inch nob of ginger, peeled and grated

  • 3-4 stalks of lemongrass, cut into 2 inch lengths

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced thinly against the grain

  • 2 cups frozen kale (optional)

  • 2 cups of baby bella mushrooms, cut into fourths (optional)

  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (optional)

  • 1 bag kelp noodles (optional)

  • 1-3 thai chiles or jalapenos, sliced thin (1 for mild, 3 for spicy)

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander

  • 2 tbsp. coconut aminos

  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce

  • 3 tbsp. lime juice

  • salt and pepper, to taste

What I Did:

  1. Place olive oil in the bottom of your Instant pot and hit the sautee function. Add the diced onion and sautee until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant.

  2. Add the stock, ginger, and lemongrass to the pot.

  3. Add in the sliced chicken, jalapenos, aminos, kale (tomatoes/mushrooms), fish sauce and spices.

  4. Turn the Instant Pot to soup setting and seal. Once the timer goes off, add the kelp noodles, lime juice and cilantro. (If you’re cooking this traditionally, simmer the soup until the chicken is cooked through!).

  5. Serve and enjoy!

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Anna GlennonComment