Fragrant chicken soup with tomato and lime (柠香蕃茄鸡)

This soup recipe, which I’m calling fragrant chicken soup with tomato and lime (柠香蕃茄鸡), is delicious. It’s also quite simple, because it creates its own stock. Pre-made soup stocks are wonderful things. I use them often and I’d never discourage you from using one. But sometimes you  need soup on days when a pre-made stock just isn’t handy.

Fragrant chicken soup

Fragrant chicken soup

Today is supposed to be the fourth day of spring, and if you go by the meteorologists’ strict definition, I suppose it actually is. But we had leaden skies and snow flurries, while places not 50 miles from here got dumped on with up to 12 inches of wet snow. Since shaking my fists at the sky doesn’t seem to help, I chose to combat the wintery chill with a warm and comforting soup. The ingredients are all straightforward, so very little extra explanation is needed.

Instead of mincing the ginger, slice it into coarse rounds. Peeling it isn’t necessary.

Ginger rounds

Ginger rounds

The heat come from Thai chiles:

Thai chiles

Thai chiles

The quantities given below will feed four people as a soup course of a larger meal.


  1. 2 cloves garlic and one medium shallot, minced
  2. 2 tsp salt dissolved in 6 cups water
  3. 1 medium tomato, diced; 5 slices ginger (see photo above); 1 Thai chili, sliced diagonally into seven or eight pieces with the loose seeds discarded
  4. 1/2 lb chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces and marinated for 25 minutes in a mixture of 2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine and 1 Tbsp potato flour
  5. 3 Tbsp soy sauce and 2 tsp lime juice


  • Heat 1 Tbsp peanut oil in a soup pot (or in your wok, if it’s big enough).  Add the garlic and shallot (#1) and fry on gentle heat until soft. This should take less than five minutes. Take care not to let the garlic burn.
  • Pour in the salted water (#2) and turn the heat up. Next add the tomato, ginger, and chili (#3); heat until the water is boiling.
  • Add the chicken (#4) and simmer for 20 minutes, then stir in the soy sauce and lime juice (#5). Serve, garnishing individual bowls with chopped cilantro.

VARIATIONS: Obviously this recipe creates its own stock. But if you have chicken or vegetable stock on hand, you can substitute it for the salted water in step #2. If you want to scale the recipe up for more than four people, or if you simply want a more substantial soup, you can use a whole chicken instead of thighs.

COMING SOON: TastyAsia enjoys bitter melon!

This entry was posted in Chicken, Recipes, Soup, Tomatoes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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