Cambodian Lemongrass Chicken Soup


My Khmer sons both love this soup at our favorite Cambodian restaurant, Chez Sovan, in San Jose, CA. This is my attempt to match the flavors at home. My oldest son's comment on trying the soup was, Mmm so close, make some more! Serve with warm baguette.

Prep Time:
55 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
4 servings


Soup Base:

  • 4 cups chicken broth

  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced

  • 1 head garlic, minced

  • 1 lime, zested and juiced

  • 10 whole black peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1 (1/2 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 4 dashes fish sauce

  • 1 dried red chile pepper

  • 4 stalks lemongrass, trimmed

  • water

  • 8 ounces cubed cooked chicken

  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks, or to taste (Optional)

  • 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage, or to taste (Optional)

  • 1 cup mung bean sprouts, or to taste (Optional)

  • 2 ounces dried Chinese mushrooms, or to taste

  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

  • 3 tablespoons chopped Thai basil

  • 2 tablespoons chopped mint

  • 4 teaspoons garlic chile paste, or to taste, divided


  1. Combine chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, peppercorns, soy sauce, ginger, fish sauce, and chile pepper in a large pot.

  2. Remove tough outer stalks from lemongrass. Halve inner stalks and cut into 3-inch peaches. Place in a resealable plastic bag and pound with a hammer until bruised.

  3. Fill bag with water and pour into the pot. Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until flavors combine, about 20 minutes. Strain with a small mesh strainer, discarding solids. Pour strained liquid back into the pot.

  4. Stir chicken, green onions, carrot, cabbage, mung bean sprouts, Chinese mushrooms, cilantro, Thai basil, and mint into the soup. Simmer over medium heat until carrot is tender, about 10 minutes.

  5. Spoon 1 teaspoon garlic chile paste into the bottom of each serving bowl and ladle soup on top.

Cook's Note:

You can make this vegan: substitute veggie broth and use 8 ounces firm tofu.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

273 Calories
9g Fat
34g Carbs
21g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 273
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 49mg 16%
Sodium 1209mg 53%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 7g 23%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 21g
Vitamin C 64mg 320%
Calcium 144mg 11%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 1227mg 26%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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