March 5, 2014

Ask a Chef: Spicy Coconut Soup With Chicken And Mushrooms Recipe

Recipe: David Hawksworth

Vancouver Chef David Hawksworth’s Asian-inspired starter from his restaurant, Bel Café.

Q: While staying at the Rosewood Hotel George in Vancouver, I had a sublime Asian chicken soup at Bel Café. I was a little under the weather, and it really hit the spot. I’d love to know the recipe. – Elaine, Victoria

A: Chef David Hawksworth says what makes this soup sparkle is combining the deep umami of mushrooms and fish sauce with the acidity of lime. Steeping the broth with cilantro is a neat trick tat preserves its fresh perfume.



  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 12 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄2 red onion,thinly sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
  • 3 oz ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 1⁄2 oz galangal, thinly sliced
  • 6 cups chickenstock
6 cups coconut milk
  • 1 1⁄2 jalapeño peppers, thinly sliced
  • 10 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 1⁄2 oz palm or brown sugar
1 bunch cilantro
  • 6 tbsp lime juice, or more to taste
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup sriracha sauce
  • Salt, to taste


  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken thighs, grilled, sliced
  • 4 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced, sautéed
  • Sliced cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges


Yield: Serves 8

  1. In large pot, heat oil over high heat. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until browned, ?5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and galangal. Cook, stirring, until softened, 10 minutes.
  3. Add stock, coconut milk, jalapeño and Kaffir lime. Bring to boil over high heat. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for 1 hour. Remove from heat.
  4. Add sugar, cilantro, lime juice, fish sauce and sriracha. Steep, covered, for 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Pass soup through fine mesh strainer into clean pot, pushing down with ladle.
  6. Bring soup to simmer. Taste for salt and lime juice.
  7. To garnish, divide chicken and mushrooms among 6 to 8 warm bowls. Ladle soup over top. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.