How to make Herb-Scented Chicken Soup and the recipes of Herb-Scented Chicken Soup

Herb-Scented Chicken Soup (S’ngao Chruok Moan)

Just about every ingredient, from the culantro to the lemongrass, gives this refreshing Cambodian soup its sprightly flavor and delightful fragrance. For Phiroum Svy, a working mother of two teenagers, this soup is a simple-to-prepare meal when she’s in a time crunch. Phiroum, whose name means “peacefulness” in Cambodian, likes to use bone-in chicken thighs in soups because they give the stock better flavor. Use breast meat if you prefer, but in my experience it tends to dry out and toughen after boiling. Try tilapia or salmon fillets instead of chicken.

Time: 1 hour
Makes: 2 main-course servings or 4 first-course servings


  • 6 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon uncooked jasmine rice
  • 2½ pounds (4 small) bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 culantro leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed with the flat part of a cleaver or large knife
  • ¹⁄8-inch-thick coin galangal, peeled and smashed
  • 1 plump stalk lemongrass, trimmed, bruised (see page 10), and cut into fourths on the diagonal
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, quartered (2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves


  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped culantro
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup chopped Thai basil leaves
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Dipping Sauce (recipe follows)


  1. In a large saucepan, bring the water and rice to a boil over high heat. Add the chicken, culantro, garlic, galangal, and lemongrass. Return to a boil. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the chicken from the soup and scrape the meat from the bones. Cut or shred the meat into bite-sized pieces and return to the saucepan. Discard the bones. Add the mushrooms, fish sauce, salt, and crumpled kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked.
  3. Fish out the large herbs, garlic, galangal, and lemongrass and discard. Ladle the soup into individual bowls.
  4. Arrange the cilantro, culantro, green onions, basil, and limes separately on a plate. Serve with the soup along with jasmine rice. Pick and choose garnishes as desired and dip the chicken and mushroom pieces in the dipping sauce as you eat.

Dipping Sauce (Tik Chror Louk)

Makes: ½ cup


  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (from ½ large lime)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 Thai basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 Thai chilies, cut into rounds
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. In a small bowl, combine the lime juice, water, fish sauce, garlic, basil, chilies, sugar, and salt.

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