Thai-Style Sweet & Sour Fish Soup

Thai-Style Sweet & Sour Fish Soup

fish soup

This soup is heavenly and comes together in under 15 minutes. I adore Thai cooking because nearly everything is very quick to put together. Once you get down the basic methods of cooking a stir-fry, a curry, fried rice, and soup, you can adjust recipes to your own preferences and explore your own combinations.

Many soup recipes call for a slow simmer for what seems like hours, but Thai soups are flavored with fresh spices which brighten up a broth in a matter of minutes rather than hours.

While this recipe calls for a few non-Western ingredients, I’ve included substitutes below so those that may not be near a grocery store with access to wild lime leaves, galangal root, or sweet Thai basil can still make this soup. For those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, this soup is also fabulous when made with vegetable broth and extra vegetables substituted for the fish. Try carrots, bok choy, or bell peppers!

The husband and I took a trip to Thailand back in 2011, which is where we got engaged.


It was such an incredible trip – the main reason why I wanted to travel there was to try the food.


It completely opened my world to new flavors and experiences, and I love Thai food now more than ever.


As with most Thai cooking, be sure to prep all of your ingredients before you get started. The dish comes together so quickly you won’t have much time to dice or chop once you start.

Makes: 4 servings


  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 12 oz. (about 2 filets) of white fish, cut into bite-size chunks (I’ve had good success with Tilapia, which is cheap and holds up well in the freezer)
  • 1 Tbsp. galangal root, cut into think matchstick (ginger root* works as a substitute)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass**, smashed and chopped into inch-long pieces
  • 2 wild lime leaves (substitute juice from half of one lime if you do not have access to lime leaves)
  • 2 small tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup mushroom, button or white, quartered
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh sweet Thai basil leaves, chopped (substitute regular basil if needed – you can also omit if you don’t have any handy)
  • 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (sorry, no substitutes! You can find this in almost any grocery store on the Asian foods aisle. It is called for in the majority of Thai dishes so it is a great pantry staple. The Red Boat brand has a paleo-friendly version)
  • 1 hot Thai chili pepper (Bird’s eye or similar**), seeded and sliced into rings
  • Juice from half of one lime


  1. Bring the chicken broth, galangal (or ginger) root, lemongrass, and hot Thai pepper to a boil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in the fish sauce, mushrooms, basil, lime leaves (or juice if substituting), and tomatoes then reduce heat to medium low. Let it simmer for about ten minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in your serving bowl (or divide among individual soup bowls, place the cilantro, green onions, and lime juice and give the bowl a little swirl.
  4. Add the chunks of fish and continue to simmer until fish is opaque and cooked through (just a few minutes).
  5. Remove the lemongrass stalks and lime leaves and discard.
  6. Transfer the soup to your serving dish (or individual bowls). The cilantro and green onions will rise to the top and maintain their fresh flavors.

Nutrition (per  serving):

176 calories, 6 g. fat, 21 g. protein, 11 g. carbs, 3 g. fiber. WW PointsPlus: 4

Okay, friends – what’s your favorite Thai dish? Give me some inspiration!

*Did you know that the easiest way to remove ginger peel is with a spoon? Seriously. Give it a try. I peel mine once I buy it then freeze it. I use my microplane zester to grate the frozen ginger directly into my dishes.

**You can usually find lemongrass among the other spices in your produce section. It freezes nicely if you have extra left in your pack!

** I buy these by the handful and keep them in my freezer. They are so little they thaw in just minutes. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling them, and avoid contact with your eyes!


2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Peanut Panang Beef Curry | if looks could kale

  2. Pingback: Peanut Panang Beef Curry

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