Coconut Soup with Chicken and Rice Noodles



Sambal Sauce

  • 4 shallots or 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 6 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil
  • 4 dried chillies, soaked
  • 5 oz / 140 g ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin


  • 4 oz / 110 g thin rice noodles or vermicelli
  • 8 oz / 230 g chicken breast meat
  • 1 pt / 570 ml chicken stock
  • 1 pt / 570 ml coconut milk
  • ½ oz / 15 g tamarind paste or 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ oz / 15 g fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves or a piece of lemon grass, if available
  • 3 tbsp shrimp paste
  • ½ lb / 230 g prawns, peeled
  • 3 oz / 85 g bean sprouts
  • 3 oz / 85 g cucumber, cut into matchsticks


  • chilli slices
  • fried onion rings
  • coriander leaves


To make the sambal sauce, gently fry the shallots or onion and garlic in the groundnut oil until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to the boil, cook for a few minutes, then rub through a sieve. Put in a bowl, and cover until required. (It will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.)

To make the soup, blanch the noodles in boiling water for 3–4 minutes, drain and refresh under cold water, and put to one side. Poach the chicken meat for 8 minutes, and then shred it. Put the stock and coconut milk in a saucepan, add the tamarind paste or lemon juice, ginger, lime leaves or lemon grass and shrimp paste. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the prawns, chicken, bean sprouts, cucumber and noodles. Bring to the boil and serve immediately.

Hand the sambal sauce and the other accompaniments separately for people to stir into their soup as they wish.