Chicken Soup with Fresh Turmeric and Galangal


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Slow Cook Modern

Slow Cook Modern

By Liana Krissoff

Published 2017

  • About

ALSO GOOD WITH lemongrass rice OR pandan water

Lots of fresh turmeric gives this coconut milk–enriched soup a brilliant yellow color and a pleasant bittersweet flavor. You can use 1 teaspoon ground turmeric if you don’t have fresh, but know that you can keep turmeric root in the freezer almost indefinitely—it’s actually easier to peel and slice or grate when it’s frozen.


  • 3-inch (7.5-cm) piece fresh or frozen galangal, peeled and chopped
  • 2 thumb-size pieces fresh or frozen turmeric, peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, tops and tough outer leaves removed, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 dried red chiles, preferably Thai, torn into pieces
  • 1 small (5.6-ounce/165-ml) can coconut milk ( cup/165 ml)
  • cups (600 ml) chicken or turkey stock or water
  • Salt
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded, and torn (about ¾ cup/125 g)
  • 2 pounds (910 g) well-trimmed boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn in several places but kept whole
  • 4 ounces (115 g) baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste
  • Juice of ½ lime, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • Fresh Thai chiles, thinly sliced



Using a granite mortar and pestle, pound the galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, and dried chiles together to a paste (or pulse in a mini food processor).

Put about half of the coconut milk (the thick stuff from the top of the can, if possible) in a small skillet or sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. When it’s bubbling at the edges, scrape in the galangal paste. Cook and stir until the paste is dryish and starting to stick to and brown in the skillet, about 3 minutes, then scrape it into the slow cooker. Pour ½ cup (120 ml) water into the hot skillet, scraping up any browned bits, then pour the liquid into the cooker, along with the remaining coconut milk and the stock. Stir in ½ teaspoon salt, the tomato, chicken, and lime leaves. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.


Turn the cooker to high. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken, tomato, and lime leaves to a bowl. With an immersion blender, puree the broth until smooth. Return the chicken and vegetables to the cooker and stir in the spinach. Season with fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar to taste. Serve with a small bowl of sliced fresh chiles on the side.