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

Padma Lakshmi
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.
Image by DARREN MUIR / Stocksy
March 18, 2021

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.

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Chicken Soup With Cumin & Lemongrass

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 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
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Method

  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.

Excerpted fromTangy Tart Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day by Padma Lakshmi. Copyright © 2021. Available from Hachette Go, an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.
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Padma Lakshmi
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, nominated for a 2021 Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series, which has just been greenlit for a second season. Lakshmi serves as host and executive producer of Bravo’s two-time Emmy-winning series Top Chef, which has been nominated for 32 Emmys, including her two-time nomination for Outstanding Host for A Reality-Competition Program. Its new season will be premiering in spring 2021.

Lakshmi is co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) and an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Artist Ambassador for immigrants' rights and women's rights. Lakshmi was also appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

She established herself as a food expert early in her career, hosting two successful cooking shows: Padma’s Passport, and Planet Food and writing the best-selling Easy Exotic, which won the “Best First Book” award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Lakshmi followed this with the publication of her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet and her memoir The New York Times best-selling Love, Loss and What We Ate. She later published The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs. In August of 2021 she will publish her first children’s book Tomatoes for Neela.

Additionally, Lakshmi is a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She has received the 2018 Karma Award from Variety, as well as the 2016 NECO Ellis Island Medal of Honor.