A creamy coconut curry broth is one of our favorite genres of creamy and cozy. Bold in flavor and decadently creamy while also being surprisingly light. Our Thai Coconut Soup features an aromatic coconut broth, thin noodle-like strands of cabbage, and tender shrimp.

The Soup-er Simple Series

This soup recipe is part of our SOUP-er Simple Series! This means it has a short ingredient list, quick cook time, and loads of flavor. The goal is to give you more than enough soup recipes to get you through cold weeknights when all you want is something savory and steaming on the table in 30 minutes or so.

In order to be apart of the SOUP-er Simple Series, each recipe needs to hit these three criteria:

  • 10 ingredients or less
  • Ready in under 45 minutes
  • Taste like it took hours
cooked shrimp in an orange-hued broth topped with herbs, lime zest and scallions

Why This Recipe Works

Our version of Thai Coconut Soup is just that, our version. In this recipe we highlight the gorgeous flavors of the Thai cuisine while putting our own spin on it. We do want to be clear—this recipe is meant to inspire you to try new flavors and get comfortable cooking with them (all while getting dinner on the table quickly). 

For a traditional Thai Coconut Soup, check out this Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup) from Hot Thai Kitchen.

The beauty of this coconut curry soup is that every single component is incredibly quick cooking. We rely on heavy hitters (fish sauce, curry paste, coconut milk, and shrimp) to add tons of flavor simply by adding them to the pot (i.e. you don’t have to caramelize or simmer to bring out their flavors).

Additionally, we add thin shreds of cabbage which—not to be dramatic—are absolutely heavenly. A quick stint in the luscious simmering coconut broth turns them into something resemblant of tender noodles.

Test Kitchen Tips

  • Prep all of your ingredients before you start cooking. Once you get started, the process is very fast.  
  • When reheating leftovers, be sure to gently reheat the soup. Bring to just a low simmer to heat it through. Any vigorous simmering or boiling with drastically over-cook the shrimp. 
shrimp, curry paste, coconut milk,fish sauce, cabbage, broth, and coconut oil measured out and arranged on a counter

Ingredient Notes

Curry Paste

Curry paste is one of our favorite shortcut ingredients. Use a hearty amount of paste instead of grating and mincing fresh lemongrass, ginger, and garlic. If you can find a quality curry paste, you’re halfway there with just about any curry dish. We usually have good luck finding a nice paste at Whole Foods, but when in doubt, Thai Kitchen is a good go-to brand. 

Fish Sauce 

Fish sauce is one of the most important ingredients in Southeast Asian cooking. Made from fermented fish, this sauce is loaded with umami and quite potent. One sniff and you’ll be concerned for your dish. But similarly to the use of anchovies in French and Italian cooking, it simply adds depth of flavor and savoriness instead of making it taste “fishy.”

Once opened, store fish sauce in the refrigerator. 

Coconut Milk

Be sure to use the canned variety of coconut milk (i.e. not the refrigerated kind sold in cartons). We recommend using full-fat coconut milk, because, yum. It should also be noted that without the coconut milk, this soup doesn’t use a whole lot of fat—just two teaspoons of coconut oil. Everything else is essentially fat-free. So go on, use the full-fat coconut milk. You’ll thank us later! 

Shrimp

If you aren’t near a coast and don’t have the luxury of quality fresh seafood, opt for frozen peeled and deveined shrimp. Seek out a product that lists “shrimp” as the only ingredient. For this recipe you can use large (31/40) to extra-large (26/30) shrimp.

cooked shrimp in an orange-hued broth topped with herbs, lime zest and scallions

FAQs

I have green curry paste, can I use that?

We haven’t tested this, but we don’t recommend it. We prefer the flavor of red curry paste for dishes that feature shrimp. In a pinch, you can try it. Let us know how it goes!

Can I use seafood stock instead of chicken broth?

Absolutely! If you can find seafood stock, by all means, use it! We found it hard to find, which is why we opted for readily-available chicken broth.

I’d like to bulk it up with more veggies. What do you recommend?

You can add anything you have on hand! Thin slices of red bell pepper and mushrooms are traditional in Tom Kha Gai. Thin slices of white onion, broccoli, and snow peas would all be delicious as well.

¼ cup of curry paste seems like a lot?!

A quarter cup of curry paste is a lot, but we found it to be the perfect amount. We use Thai Kitchen curry paste and it doesn’t make this overly spicy. If you’re worried about spice, give the paste a quick taste before using and adjust as you see fit.

Watch How to Make It

Quick Thai Coconut Soup with Shrimp

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Yield 4 servings (9 cups)
Category Soup
Cuisine Thai-inspired

Description

Our Thai Coconut Soup features an aromatic coconut broth, thin noodle-like strands of cabbage, and tender shrimp. Bold in flavor and ready in 20—what more could you want?

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 bunch scallions (6–7 scallions), white parts minced, green parts sliced
  • ½ cup minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • ¼ cup red curry paste
  • 1 limes, zested and juiced
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce, divided
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • ½ pound green cabbage, thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
  • 1 –1½ pounds extra-large shrimp (26/30 count), peeled and deveined
  • Morton kosher salt

Instructions

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add scallion whites, ¼ cup cilantro, curry paste and 1 teaspoon lime zest; cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
    scallions, curry paste, and cilantro cooking in a large pot
  • Stir in 2 teaspoons fish sauce, broth, and coconut milk and bring to boil over high heat. Add cabbage, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
    creamy broth in the pot with minced scallions and cilantro
  • Add shrimp, remove pot from heat, and allow shrimp cook in hot soup until it turns pink, about 2 minutes.
    creamy shrimp soup in a pot
  • Stir in half of dark scallion greens, 2 tablespoons lime juice and remaining 2 teaspoons fish sauce. Season with salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt).
  • Portion soup into serving bowls and sprinkle with scallion greens, cilantro, and lime zest. Serve.

Notes

we don’t think you’ll have leftovers, but if you do: when you’re ready to reheat the leftovers, do so gently over low heat. Any vigorous simmering or boiling with drastically over-cook the shrimp. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2¼ cupsCalories: 277kcalCarbohydrates: 7.5gProtein: 39gFat: 8.5gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 332mgSodium: 2100mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3.5g
Keywords Thai coconut soup
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @ZestfulKitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #zestfulkitchen!
cooked shrimp in an orange-hued broth topped with herbs, lime zest and scallions

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Writing this over my steaming bowl. Made this tonight and it is excellent. Prepared as written except for one minor change – I used lite coconut milk simply because I am working on losing the baby weight. With that small change, it’s quite a healthy soup. I’m sure it would only be more delicious with the full fat version though! I used a bag of preshredded cabbage (picked over for any large chunks) to make it come together even faster. Do not let the cabbage scare you away, the shreds really do act like noodles. Thank you for a very fast and satisfying soup to add to my rotation. (Under step three I believe you’ve written “top” when you meant “pot”)

    1. Hi Bess, thanks so much for the comment! I am so glad you enjoyed this soup and love the changes you made (genius to use a bag of pre-shredded cabbage). Thanks for catching that misspelling, changing now!