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A close-up of coconut chicken soup with ginger and lots of ingredients
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5 from 37 votes

Chinese Coconut water chicken soup with lemongrass & ginger recipe

A light but warming chicken soup that makes one feel better when sick or when it's raining. No sugar necessary thanks to the natural sweetness of the young coconut.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4 people
Author: Zen


  • Pot


  • 2 cups chicken stock Can be substituted with vegetable or seafood stock
  • 2 cups coconut water I’ve used both fresh and bottled but, if the latter, make sure it’s pure coconut water. If using fresh, try to get a young coconut.
  • 1 big shallot halved and peeledn (Substiute: onion, preferably red)
  • 2 lemongrass Root ends cut off and bashed with the back of a knife to release the fragrance. Pop the root ends into water- leave at least 1 inch on the root- to grow yourself a new lemongrass!
  • 3 thinly sliced pieces of ginger
  • 3 tomatoes (Cut into 6 pieces- 4 is too chunky) Don't add too many or the soup will be toosweet. Likewise, if you use cherry tomatoes instead, you will need to increase the amount of lime juice as cherry tomatoes are sweeter than regular ones.
  •  1-2 tablespoons lime juice The acidity is necessary to lift the taste as well as to balance the sweetness of the coconut water. Substitute: lemon juice
  • Fish sauce to taste Can be substituted with salt- the flavour will have slightly less depth but will still be tasty


  • Add the chicken stock, coconut water, lemongrass, ginger and shallot to a pot. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer. You should be able to smell the fragrance of the herbs after 5 minutes, if not increase the heat slightly . Allow the soup to simmer for another 10-15 minutes to extract all the fragrance of the herbs.
  • Add the tomatoes and lime juice & allow the soup to return to the boil.
  • Season with fish sauce, or salt, to your taste.
  • The above makes the basic soup base which can be drunk as it is. You can also add prawns,chicken, fish, abalone, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms and chilli to the soup for a heartier dish.
  • To bulk the dish into a main, add either noodles or rice. I like to add tang hoon (mung/ greenbean vermicelli) which is first soaked in hot water. Once the noodles have softened, they are then added to the soup. Give everything a stir for 1-2minutes then serve.
  • Alternatively, you could add cooked rice to the soup once the soup has finished simmering to make “paofan” or submerged rice.


This serves 4 people as a side dish of soup or 2 people as a main (with noodles or rice)
Remove the lemongrass and ginger before serving as they’re not easy to bite/eat. The shallots can be eaten but the texture isn’t great after simmering (it’s mushy), so you may want to remove it from the soup as well.
You can pimp up the dish by adding various toppings such as: tau kee (fried beancurd), fried dried prawns (hae bee), spring onions etc
If you really want to impress, you can make this soup by double boiling chicken meat in coconut water inside a coconut shell (you will need to remove some of the coconut liquid or it will overflow) along with the rest of the ingredients!