DOM YAM GAI (Thai coconut chicken soup, for six)


For the stock:

a whole roasted chicken carcass, meat removed and reserved

2 teaspoons salt

2 onions, halved

4 ribs celery, with leaves, roughly chopped

4 carrots, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic

2 thick slices fresh gingerroot

one 3 inch piece of fresh lemongrass, or the zest of ½ lemon

1 red Thai or serrano chili, halved, seeded and deveined

salt and pepper to taste


For the soup:

8 cups chicken stock

8 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves (Whole Foods has these fresh, some Asian markets have them frozen)

two 3 inch pieces of trimmed lemongrass, chopped fine, or the zest of 1 small lemon, removed with a vegetable peeler and cut into julienne strips

twelve 1/8 inch thick slices fresh galanga or four 1/8 inch thick slices fresh gingerroot

6 tablespoons nam pla, or other Asian fish sauce, plus additional to taste

2/3 to 1 cup fresh lime or lemon juice

4 fresh 1 inch red Thai chilies, or 6 fresh serrano chilies, seeded and minced (less if you prefer less fire in your soup. Taste your stock and see how hot it is before adding more chilies)

3 cups cooked chicken meat reserved from the stock

3 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup finely chopped fresh coriander

1. Combine the chicken or bones and scraps in a stockpot with salt and water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off any scum that rises to the surface of the stock.

2. Add the flavoring ingredients to the stock and simmer, partly covered, for 1-1/2 hours or more. Strain through a sieve into a bowl and discard the solids. Degrease the stock.

3. Bring the stock back to a boil in the stockpot and cook for 10 minutes to concentrate the flavor. Taste carefully for seasoning. Reserve stock.

3. Add the shredded chicken, lime leaves, lemongrass, galanga or gingerroot, 6 tablespoons fish sauce, lime juice to taste and the chilies, bring the mixture to a simmer, then stir in the coconut milk. Simmer soup 3 minutes until it is thoroughly heated through and sir in the coriander, additional fish sauce if needed, and salt to taste.


  • If you want to make the soup with an uncooked chicken: Rinse the uncooked bird under cold tap water, remove any excess fat and and any giblets stashed in the cavity, and place the chicken in a pot with 1 tablespoon salt and water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, partly covered, for 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken from the pot to a plate (reserve the stock) and set it aside until it is cool enough to handle. Discard the skin, remove the meat from the bones and shred the meat. Once the meat has cooled completely, cover and refrigerate it until you’re ready to finish the soup. Return the bones to the pot and continue with the recipe at step 2.
  • If your leftover chicken carcass doesn’t have enough meat on it to finish the soup: Buy 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts from your grocery, salt them and add them to the degreased stock in step 2. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and poach the chicken until the juices run clear, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a plate to cool, then shred it. Proceed with step 3.

from James Peterson, Splendid Soups

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