Thai-style Salmon Soup

Preparation info

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Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

The popularity of Asian food has presented a whole new palette of ingredients for the home cook. Here we use fresh ginger, fermented fish sauce, and bok choy. Cilantro, familiar to many through Southwest cooking, is also popular in Thai cuisine.


  • 2 teaspoons curry powder, preferably Madras
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth or reduced-sodium canned broth, fat skimmed
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 1 sprig cilantro
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper, or more to taste
  • ¼ cup thin carrot slices
  • 8 snow peas, trimmed and cut into ½-inch-diagonal strips
  • 2 large inside leaves bok choy, cut into thin crosswise slices (1 cup)
  • 12 ounces skinless salmon fillet or boned salmon steak, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon oriental fish sauce
  • ½ cup (lightly packed) watercress leaves
  • 4 thin slices cucumbers
  • 2 tablespoons torn cilantro leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 lime, quartered


    1. Sprinkle curry in a large wide saucepan. Place over low heat and heat, stirring, just until the curry is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the broth, water, onion, ginger, garlic, basil, cilantro, thyme, and red pepper. Heat to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer over low heat 30 minutes. Drain the broth through a sieve and discard solids. Return broth to saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
    2. Meanwhile, place a vegetable steamer in a saucepan over 1 inch of boiling water. Add the carrot slices, snow peas, and bok choy. Cover and steam 2 minutes. Remove from steamer and rinse with cold water.
    3. Add the salmon to the broth. Cover and cook over low heat until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the steamed vegetables, fish sauce, watercress, cucumber slices, and cilantro leaves. Add salt to taste. Stir carefully so fish does not break up. Ladle into bowls distributing ingredients evenly and serve with a wedge of lime.