Thai Carrot Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass

Carrot Soup. James Cohen/Flickr
    30 mins

This Thai version of carrot soup has the health benefits of ginger, garlic and lemongrass. With its potent combination of vegetables, rice and fresh Thai herbs and spices, and its high concentration of vitamins A and C, plus calcium, this soup is an excellent remedy for a cold or flu. It is also extremely delicious and makes an elegant soup to serve guests. Enjoy it as an appetizer, or add a crusty loaf of French bread on the side for the main course. If you use vegetable broth this becomes nice vegetarian Thai recipe that's also easy to make - it's ready in just 30 minutes!

What You'll Need

  • O​il for stir-frying
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 to 2 thumb-size pieces galangal or ginger, chopped fine
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, finely sliced, or 2 tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 1 fresh red chili, minced (omit if you prefer a milder soup), or 1 to 2 tsp. chilli sauce
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth 
  • 1/4 cup Thai jasmine rice (or any type of white or brown rice)
  • 7 medium carrots, sliced (they can be thick slices, as the soup will be pureed later)
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • One 15-oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 to 3 tbsp. fish or vegetarian fish sauce (start with 1 tbsp. and add more if needed)
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • A handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • A handful of fresh basil

How to Make It

  1. Pour 2 tablespoons oil into the bottom of a large soup pot. Add onion, garlic, galangal or ginger, lemongrass and fresh chili (or chili sauce). Stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the broth and rice. Bring to a boil.
  3. Add the carrots plus the spices (cumin, cardamom, nutmeg). Reduce heat to medium, cover, and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, or until carrots and rice are soft (brown rice will take longer to cook, and will absorb more liquid, so you may need to add a little more broth).
  1. Add the coconut milk and stir. Remove from the heat and puree the soup in batches in your blender. Return soup to the soup pot.
  2. Rewarm soup over medium heat. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce and lime juice. Taste-test for salt, adding more fish sauce instead of salt, as needed. (If your soup turns out too salty, add more lime juice.) Add more fresh chili or chili sauce if not spicy enough.​
  3. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with fresh coriander and basil.