Two months. It took nearly two months for The Sriracha Cookbook by Randy Clemens to work its way through the library system and into my waiting hands. Not familiar with Sriracha? Also called “rooster sauce,” this addictive, spicy Asian sauce perks up any dish. For me, Sriracha sauce has an instant heat that hits in the back of the throat, but goes away quickly. Really. I don’t like it straight, but mixed into dishes it adds that layer of interest that only chiles can.

I tried out Clemens’ Thai Chicken-Coconut Soup recipe. I found it was easy to put together but next time I’d definitely make some adjustments. Here are my notes:

  • The mixture of chicken and fish sauce didn’t seem to fit. I’d use shrimp in the recipe instead.
  • I didn’t buy the extra, pricier ingredients like lemon grass and kaffir leaves. Maybe one of these days, but the substitutes work well and the soup tasted nearly as good as the coconut soup from our favorite Thai restaurant.
  • I didn’t want to bother with mincing the ginger so instead I put it on a skewer and let it simmer with the soup while it cooked then just threw it out before serving.

    Ginger flavor, no mincing

  • Looking at the fat content of regular coconut milk, I opted for the lite version.
  • Clemens calls for a whopping 1/3 cup Sriracha in the soup. I like things hot, but my thought is it’s much easier to ADD more heat than to try to take it out so I used a couple teaspoons.


Prep & cook time: 20-30 minutes

Servings: 4-6


3 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 stalk lemongrass, white part only (optional)

1 (2-inch) knob galangal (or ginger)

3 kaffir lime leaves or 1 tablespoon finely minced lime zest

1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk

1/3 cup Sriracha (uh, I used about 2 teaspoons)

1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken cut into 1-inch cubes (I used leftover cooked chicken)

Juice of 1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro sprigs


  1. In a medium-sized pot add the chicken broth, fish sauce, lemongrass (if using), ginger and lime zest and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. (Clemens points out you can strain out the galangal, lemongrass and lime leaves at this point but since I wasn’t using them, I didn’t have to.)
  3. Add the coconut milk, chicken and Sriracha and return the soup to a boil for 4 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Again, I used leftover chicken.
  4. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the fresh lemon juice. Serve garnished with cilantro.

    Soup's on!

Kids’ reactions: Okay, I wasn’t expecting rave reviews from the kiddos on this one. I thought the soup was excellent–soothing, spicy. The teen thought the soup was good but pointed out that shrimp would work better than the chicken. Agreed. My two younger kids thought it was on the spicy side and asked for extra servings of rice instead of seconds of soup. If only you could eat soup with chopsticks I think they would have given it more of a chance.

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