Thai Hot-and-Sour Fish Soup
© Todd Porter & Diane Cu www.whiteonricecouple.com

Thai Hot-and-Sour Fish Soup


In our hot-and-sour soup, lemon and lime zest, lime juice and fresh ginger replace the traditional lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal, which can be difficult to find. To change the heat level, adjust the number of jalapeños up or down to your taste.


  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
  2. 3 shallots, cut into thin slices
  3. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  4. 5 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, peppers cut into thin slices
  5. 1 quart canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  6. 2 cups water
  7. Grated zest of 2 lemons
  8. Grated zest of 3 limes
  9. 1/2 pound mushrooms, quartered
  10. 5 tablespoons lime juice (from about 3 limes)
  11. 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam, see Note)
  12. 2 pounds swordfish steaks, skinned, cut into approximately 2-by-1-inch pieces
  13. 2 tomatoes, cut into large dice (optional)
  14. 1/3 cup cilantro leaves (optional)
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the shallots, ginger, and jalapeños; cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the zests and mushrooms; simmer 5 minutes longer.
  2. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, and swordfish to the soup. Cook until the fish is just done, about 2 minutes. Serve sprinkled with the tomatoes and cilantro, if using.

Fish Alternatives Thai Hot-and-Sour Soup is often made with shrimp. Or, use any moderately firm, skinless steaks or fillets, such as catfish, black sea bass, or pompano, in place of the swordfish.

Asian Fish Sauce Fish sauce is used as a condiment, much like soy sauce. Either the Thai version (nam pla) or the Vietnamese (nuoc mam) will add great depth of flavor to quick dishes. It is available at Asian markets and many supermarkets.

Suggested Pairing

The strong flavors here suggest a light white without too much taste of its own. A Pinot Grigio from Italy will do fine—unless you increase the heat with more jalapeños. Then serve a cold beer.