Thai chicken soup's complex flavor is largely derived from such exotica as galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, and
bird's eye chiles-ingredients most people would be hard-pressed to find at the market.
We wanted a plausibly authentic version of Thai chicken soup that could be prepared with more readily available (i.e.
We started by making a classic version of the soup, then substituting one ingredient at a time. We developed an
acceptably rich and definitely chicken-flavored broth by using equal parts chicken broth and coconut milk (adding the
coconut milk in two stages: at the beginning and just before serving). We couldn't find an appropriate substitute for
lemon grass, but it proved to be easy enough to find. Our most exciting find was a "magic bullet" substitution: jarred red
curry paste includes all the exotic ingredients we were missing. Just adding a dollop at the very end of cooking and
whisking it with pungent fish sauce and tart lime juice allowed all the classic flavors to come through loud and clear.