Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

by Alice Currah on January 6, 2010. Updated January 10, 2010

[donotprint] Ten years ago, my friend Ann made this soup for our family when we moved into our house.  This has become one of my favorite soups and I like to prepare when I’m in a jam and need dinner quickly!  It is quite easy, tasty, and perfect for a cold winters night.  The blend of coconut milk and red curry paste is the perfect combination for a Thai style soup without any fuss.  I will warn you though, it does have a nice kick to it.  It will warm your bellies and leave you feeling satisfied.  If you don’t like spicy food, just reduce the amount of curry paste to your liking.

I typically prepare this soup whenever I have leftover chicken and rice stored in my freezer.  What I love about this recipe is that it doesn’t require exact amounts of anything.  It’s a little bit of this.. a little bit of that.  Before you know it, you have an awesome soup your friends and family will love!  Enjoy!

(PS: If you  make this soup for your friends who just had babies, I promise you.. You will be a Rock Star because all they’ve been eating since they’ve been home with a new baby is 10 different types of lasagnas and red sauce pasta dishes.)

Note:  The only Asian ingredients you need is red curry paste and coconut milk.  Fish sauce is optional.  Not having fish sauce is no problem.  I’ve posted pictures of the ingredients I used below because someone emailed me asking for the brands of the Asian ingredients I use.  For the coconut milk and fish sauce I have no particular brand I am loyal to.  I just happened to buy Chaokoh coconut milk and Squid brand fish sauce because they were on sale.  However, I do like the Mae Ploy brand curry pastes.  These ingredients can be found in most Asian grocery stores or in the Asian aisle of your neighborhood super market.  You can also purchase them online – just do a Google search.

Chicken Coconut Curry Soup

What you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped – except for a few matchsticks for garnish

1/2 onion,  chopped finely

1 red bell pepper, chopped finely – except for a few thinly sliced pieces for garnish

1 cup cooked chicken meat, chopped

1 cup cooked rice

2 tablespoons red curry paste (if you like it less spicy, just use 1 tablespoon)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

13.5 oz can Asian coconut milk or cream (unsweetened)

21 oz chicken broth (roughly 1.5 cans of Swansons brand)

Optional:  2 tablespoons fish sauce and a few sprigs of cilantro

Note:  Reserve some of the coconut milk, carrots, and red bell pepper (and cilantro) for optional garnish.


In a medium  sauce pan, heat olive oil on medium heat and cook chopped onions, carrots, and red bell pepper for approximately 5 minutes.  Add curry paste, brown sugar, chicken, rice, and fish sauce stirring and sauteing everything until curry paste is completely incorporated (approx. 2-3 minutes).  Pour chicken broth and coconut milk into the pan and give it a good stir for a half minute.  Reduce heat to medium and allow the soup to cook for 15-20 minutes.  Serve with a spoonful of coconut milk added on top with a few matchstick carrots and a slice of red bell pepper for garnish. Enjoy!

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Lorraine January 6, 2010 at 1:38 am

Why didn’t you post this about two weeks ago when I was craving this exactly. Oh well I now have most of the ingredients. Will make soon. Thanks for sharing!


Dave -nibbleanibble January 6, 2010 at 3:41 am

Exactly what I’m craving for!


Jessica @ How Sweet January 6, 2010 at 6:56 am

Love ANYTHING made with coconut. How delicious!


Lori January 6, 2010 at 8:18 am

This looks amazing! I know exactly what I’m doing with that can of coconut milk I picked up a while back. The rice will make it nice and hearty for this cold weather we are having around here.


Virginia bed and breakfast | Victorian inn bed and breakfast | Romantic bed and breakfasts January 6, 2010 at 8:55 am

This looks super delicious! I am in love with chicken curry but always buying the store I think you’ve just given me courage to try this on my own! You need a little more chili paste for that. Yet I’m sure it still tasty good. Well done! What a great start. Happy 2010!

Best Regards,


Heidi Swift - Grit and Glimmer January 6, 2010 at 10:06 am

There may be nothing in this world that I love more than coconut curry. I’ve made it a few times in my life and every time is better than the one before. I really love the green curry paste as well.

Double bonus – coconut and curry both have great health benefits!


ThatsSoYummy January 6, 2010 at 12:28 pm

This looks so perfect for the cold weather we are having… I’m drooling as I type ;-)



Amy from She Wears Many Hats January 6, 2010 at 12:32 pm

This does look like the perfect thing to warm up with on a cold night. Can’t wait to try this one out.


Maria January 6, 2010 at 12:41 pm

I posted soup today too. I can’t get enough! This is going on my list!


Kate @ Savour Fare January 6, 2010 at 3:56 pm

I’m always looking for excellent new baby food. This looks delicious. I love red curry paste from the very bottom of my heart.


Brown sugar January 6, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I’m not joking about what I said on your last post—where have you been all my life and thank you for finally appearing!! I am so into experimenting with foods, especially the ones you post on your site. They are right up my alley. Bless you, Alice! I’m excited to try this.

Do you find a huge difference between the red and yellow curry? I’ve only used yellow before.


alice January 6, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Brown Sugar: I haven’t used yellow curry before, just red, green, and masaram. I love red curry, it is a staple around here and masaram is really awesome too!

Kate: We make a less spicy version of this, puree it and my son loves it!


Joan Nova January 6, 2010 at 8:57 pm

sounds delicious and looks beautiful!


Georgia Pellegrini January 6, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Coconut makes everything better. I love it in carrot soup. And curry also makes everything better. What a perfect combination in one soup.


Gwena January 7, 2010 at 12:26 am

I can’t wait to try this; there’s not much I love more than curry! I only have one problem using curry sauce; I don’t make curry very much and when I open a can of curry paste the rest of it goes to waste. Can I freeze the remainder and save it for another time?


Sonja @ ActiveFoodie January 7, 2010 at 12:45 am

I love curry!! I usually use yellow curry and I need to start experimenting with the other varieties. I can’t wait to try this recipe!


vegetarian glucosamine January 7, 2010 at 2:47 am

I like different soup. So thanks for this recipe. This looks delicious! Seems like. May have to give this a try sometime.


Lauren January 7, 2010 at 9:26 am

This soup looks absolutely delectable. I will be making this soon!


Cindy January 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Do you think the coconut milk that is sold at trader Joe’s would work, or is Asian Coconut Milk different?
Thanks…looks awesome!


Serena January 8, 2010 at 5:51 pm

I have yet to attempt a soup like this. Thanks for the motivation!


Megan Walker January 9, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Alice, my husband came across this recipe last night on the Amazon Daily blog subscribed to on his Amazon Kindle. Although he loves everything I cook, he doesn’t really show that much interest in food. Your recipe was met with an “ooh, this looks really good”, so I bought the additional ingredients needed today and we just finished enjoying the best soup I think I have ever had! Thank you so much for sharing in the form of this blog. I have seen cooking sites before, but yours stands out due to the combination of amazing photos, well written content and fantastic recipes! Thanks for being so generous with your time and recipes. I have subscribed and can’t wait to go back through the archives and try some others!


Cindy February 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm

I wanted to thank you for this recipe; I made it last night and it was DELICIOUS! I subbed out the whole coconut milk for a light one I got from Trader Joe’s and added a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and that gave it a nice burn; we love hot and spicy.
Thanks again…..I am enjoying your blog!


Gwena February 10, 2010 at 11:15 pm

We’ve made this twice now and it’s a family favorite! It’s fabulous and the flavor is very authentic. I used light coconut milk, 4 tsp of both red curry paste and fish sauce. This will now be a winter staple around our house; I can’t wait to make it for company!


pita bread April 23, 2010 at 4:30 am

I once made coconut soup and it was good but yours looks so much better. And the chicken in it seems like a great idea.


zercath July 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Music has been around for a long time. A simple flute made from bone was used by Neanderthal man more than 40,000 years ago and clay tablets found in Syria depict the score of 4,000 year old songs. But we do not have to go back that far for evidence that music is an integral part of the human experience.


Bonnie August 4, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I just came across this recipe and it looks yummy. It’s not clear to me what the yield is – maybe 2 or 4 adults? I need to make it for 6 adults so I was thinking of doubling it. Does that sound about right?


claudia dan September 30, 2010 at 12:19 am

I looooooove your soup. I bought ingredients today and even thou it was a mild day here in Seattle I made the soup for dinner. My hubby looked at me in AWE like I was some kind of secret chef. I used brown basmati rice and forgot the fish sauce but it still turned out very delicious.(At the asian store I bought exaclty the same brands you are using without even knowing that’s what you are using too :) I’m from Eastern Europe and to me these flavors are out of this world. I cook some italian , some french ofcourse eastern european like stuffed cabbage rolls , chicken papricash etc. but going Thai was new to me and I love the fact that I was able to make it and turn out so delicious. I love this soup but I also love the technique and I will make diffrent variations soon. I got the Naan bread from T.J. to go with the soup… forget it, it was perfect on own.
Thank you for your blog.


joanne January 19, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I have a pot on my stove right now. I have one word, “Amazing”. In our family we have always enjoyed Japanese curry as my husband lived there for 18 years. Recently, my kids discovered other curries and took us to Annapurna, a Nepal/Indian/Tibetan Restaurant on Broadway in Seattle. We ordered four kinds of curries and your recipe tastes so close to one of the curries we ordered! I can’t wait for the kids to try this! Thanks for the great recipe!


liz February 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm

That was delicious. I did a couple modifications because we’re on Atkins (no carrot or brown sugar, a little splenda, a lot more chicken and used grated steamed cauliflower for the rice) which might not sound good but it was excellent. Thank you for the recipe.


Kristine March 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm

wow this was icredibly delicious! this is the very first time when I have made something so good, my boyfriend’s first words after tasting it was: just like in a restaurant!
i also have a question for you:
last year i was in Berlin in an indian restaurant and they had the most impressive shrimp soup ever and since then i have not found any recipes closed to that so maybe you have something in mind? it was very hot, blended and with huge shrimps in it and taste was very close to this coconut curry soup

thanks for your fantastic recipes! i’m a huge fan


alice March 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Hi Kristine,
Sorry, I’m not familiar with that dish but it sounds amazing! I know some chefs who blend or cook with the shells of shrimp to extract the flavor. Perhaps this is what you had?


Michelle March 22, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I wont have my baby till August, but I am already craving this. I had been buying this soupa t a local Earth Fare market and they havent been carrying thier Coconut Curry chicken soup since this past winter. Now that is all I want. I have the lable saved on all the ingrediants that go in it, but this will make things sooo much easier. Thank you thank you thank you sooo much!


Fairbanksgrrrl March 24, 2011 at 11:51 am

I tried this last night, and it was SO good. Thanks for the amazing recipe! It’s going into regular rotation at our house.


Jill April 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm

This is on the stove cooking right now. I’ve had a much simpler version of this before (only broth, chicken, curry and coconut milk), but the extras included in this recipe have added so much color and aroma. Can’t wait to dive into it in 30 minutes!


Christy July 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Thanks for this recipe-it looks wonderful! I love your site here.



Gin July 29, 2011 at 4:28 am

Hi Alice

One question, does this recipe goes well with Mae Ploy green curry paste. I still have 3/4 Mae Ploy green curry paste sitting in the fridge and I am going to try this recipe this coming Sat. Would you recommend that I go for red or just use the green curry paste. Your respond to this asap is greatly appreciated. Thanks, Gin


alice August 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Yes, you could substitute any curry you would like. I like the red one the best.


Angiesurecanbake August 1, 2011 at 11:15 am

WOW!! I love this soup. I usually get it from a thai spot in the city but have always wanted to make it myself. I did add some minced ginger & 2 cloves of crushed garlic & it was soooo good! The only other change it did make was I added whipping cream & had to add more curry paste. Next time though I will cut down the chciken broth to 1/2 & replace it with extra coconut milk or whipping cream. I like a more creamy soup. Oh! before I forget… you have to try it topped with chopped cilantro, green onions & a sliced boiled egg. OMG!!!! You will loveit trust me :)


Lisa K September 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I am making this today for the second time- this soup is SO delicious! I only had a small can of coconut milk and the yellow curry (same brand as pictured above) and it was fantastic. We really love cilantro so I did put more in than the recipe called for. Thanks for posting this recipe!


Allison October 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm

The flavors were nice but it was wayyyyy too bland. I doubled the red curry paste and added crushed red pepper flakes. I also added a squeeze of lime for a little zing. The basic recipe is good – the flavors are there. They just need to be kicked up several notches. (And… I’m not a spicy food lover, fyi.)


Chris November 8, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Looks great. How many people does this serve?


Kenyon December 31, 2011 at 12:16 pm

i made this soup last night and it was so good and easy! i will definitely be making it from now on fairly often. thanks! :)


Pauline February 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm

This soup is absolutely wonderful. I followed the recipe except I substituted a large leek instead of the onion. Just finished the first pot and already my husband is asking when I will be making it again.


TheHillHangout February 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Just found this recipe on Pinterest. I will definitely be repinning and making it very soon. Thanks for sharing!


melissa May 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Just made this today! I cannot stop eating it! It is sooo good!!!!!!!!!! I did vary a little from the recipe by adding 1 tbsp. of red curry paste, 1 tsp of reg curry powder and a tsp of red pepper flakes.


Misty September 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm

When I am not feeling well I crave curry soup and was until now only able to get it at the local ‘noodle’ shop ($$). I made a big pot of this today and am loving how it soothes my sore throat and makes me feel all cozy and comforted.
Thank you so very much


Bonnie December 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I’m making this for the second time. I’ve noticed that many recipes like this add in peas of various sorts and am wondering if they would take away or add to this simple recipe? I know it is delightful as is…


JoAnn February 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm

I loved this! Made with homemade chicken stock and light coconut milk. Delicious and healthy. Thanks so much for sharing.


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