This Super-Flavorful Chicken Soup From Padma Lakshmi's Cookbook Marries Indian & Thai Flavors

Producer, Host & New York Times Bestselling Author By Padma Lakshmi
Producer, Host & New York Times Bestselling Author
Padma Lakshmi is an Emmy-nominated food expert, television producer, host and The New York Times best-selling author. She is the creator of the critically acclaimed Hulu series Taste the Nation, and author of two cookbooks: Easy Exotic and Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet.
Chicken soup bowls

This soup is especially nourishing on a cold or rainy night. I know there are a lot of ingredients, but basically you just sauté all the seasonings, and then throw in the whole chicken, cover with liquid, and simmer until the meat is practically falling off the bone. In fact, it has many of the ingredients used in Asian remedies to keep colds at bay and is a marriage between Thai and Indian flavors.

The ginger is common in both cuisines. The cumin and cloves are Indian and often used in broths to stave off cold and flu symptoms. The lemongrass and lime leaf are Thai and employed to do the same. Both can now be found fresh in many good food stores and are readily available in Asian markets. I tend to buy large amounts when I find them. I freeze them for multiple uses, although they will keep in your crisper for up to 10 days. Both add a lemony fragrance as well as a purifying element to the chicken stock.

Chicken Soup With Cumin & Lemongrass

Serves 6 to 8



  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 4- to 5-inch pieces and split down the middle
  • 2 green chilies, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 4 cloves
  • 5 makrut lime leaves *
  • 2 carrots cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 16 pieces
  • 1 small whole peeled onion
  • 1 chicken (2 to 3 pounds)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 large celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt


  1. In a large, deep pot, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. To the hot oil, add the cumin seeds; stir for 2 minutes. Add the chopped onion, garlic, lemongrass, green chilies, ginger, cloves, and lime leaves; stir for 4 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots and potatoes. Stir.
  3. Stuff the whole peeled onion into the cavity of the chicken and add to the pot. Turn the chicken over and over to coat well with the sautéed mixture. Pour the chicken stock over the chicken and add more warm water, just enough to cover the chicken. Simmer for 70 to 80 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken, taking care to drain any of the broth in its cavity back into the pot so as to lose as little of the soup as possible. Cool the chicken on a cutting board. Discard the onion that was in the cavity.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add the celery. While the celery is cooking, remove the chicken from the bones. Chop the cooked chicken meat into bite-size pieces and return it to the pot. Stir and cook until the celery is fully cooked but crisp and not falling apart; this should only be a few minutes after you've finished chopping and adding all the chicken meat, at most.
  6. Add salt to taste if necessary.
  7. Remove the lemongrass and lime leaves before serving.

Note: Makrut lime leaves are found in Thai and Asian grocery stores.

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