• Thai Coconut Salmon Soup


Thai Coconut Salmon Soup

By Andrew Zimmern

While following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark in Oregon, I spent a day filming and fishing with Brigette McConville, who is lovingly referred to as the salmon queen along the Columbia River. I was inspired to create this recipe that uses parts of the salmon that don’t belong on the grill or in the oven. It’s my take on a classic hot-and-sour Thai soup, and it’s very easy to make at home.

VIDEO: Thai Coconut Salmon Soup >>>

Thai Coconut Salmon Soup

Total: 30M


  • 1 salmon head with collars (you can also use trim and belly pieces from the salmon)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 large stalk lemon grass, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 3 fresh Makrut lime leaves
  • 2  1/2 tablespoons golden brown sugar
  • 1 golf ball-sized piece of galangal or conventional ginger root, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons chile tamarind paste (nam phrik pao)
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms (shitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms or enoki mushrooms work well)
  • 2 large Thai red chiles, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2  1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish



Split and rinse the salmon head. Remove and reserve the collars and any trim pieces you want to use, cutting 1-inch pieces of tail and belly meat. Reserve.

Place a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the chicken stock, lemon grass, lime leaves, sugar, galangal and chile tamarind paste. Stir and let cook for a few minutes. Add the coconut milk, and bring to a boil. Next, add the salmon and mushrooms and bring back to a simmer. Cook for a minute and add Thai chiles, fish sauce and lime juice. Sprinkle in a handful of cilantro leaves.

Serve, garnishing with more chiles if desired and additional cilantro.

Photograph by Madeleine Hill. 

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