Chicken Tom Yum Sopa Fresca

Chicken Tom Yum Sopa Fresca

I wanted to make fresh chicken soup, but something out of the ordinary, not my usual heartwarming delicious recipe.  I was thinking of Tom Yum, but I don’t have a flair for Asian cooking when it comes to multiple ingredients and complex tastes.  I decided to go out on a limb anyway, and just to up the ante, I replaced many of the “normal” ingredients with things that we grow and have on hand.  I was a little stressed at first, but then I thought, so damn what!  So what if my Tom Yum isn’t authentico, and so what if I add a little of me into the ingredients.  So here you have it, my tom yum sopa fresca.  And you know what, I hope you don’t follow my recipe exactly, and instead, add a lot of your own self to it too!


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 6 large garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 large white onion chunked
  • 10 large green onion stalks (I used Tokyo long, but leeks will do also) chopped bunch of cilantro
  • 10 kaffir lime leaves halved
  • handful of lemon balm (substituted for lemongrass) chopped
  • juice from 2 key limes
  • 4-6 red de-seeded jalapenos to taste (substituted for Thai chiles) and sliced in half lengthwise
  • big bunch of Swiss rainbow chard (substituted for mushrooms) chopped
  • some broccoli florets
  • some purple cauliflower florets
  • splash of Siracha
  • 2 tsps of salt

Other things you could add: grated fresh ginger to taste, splash of peanut oil or splash of fish oil, or whatever the heck you want!- it’s soup!)

For Serving:

  • Slices of lime
  • Siracha
  • Salt
  • I think glass noodles and bean sprout would go well too!  Add a little Pho flair if you will!

Preparing the chicken and broth:

Take the innards out of a whole chicken and rinse the chicken with water. Put the whole chicken, skin and all, in a large pot and fill with water just to the top of the chicken breast. Bring to a boil on the stove with the lid off, then turn down to a simmer with the lid on until the chicken is completely cooked- about 45-60 minutes.

Once the chicken is cooked, carefully remove it from the broth and place in a large bowl. Wait for the chicken to cool, and scavenge all the good meat you want to use for your soup. It’s best to do this by hand to get all the meat. Place the meat in a separate bowl. Skin is optional, but I don’t use it.

I usually use organic whole chicken, so the broth isn’t too fatty. But, if you want your broth as lean as can be, run it through a strainer lined with cheese cloth into a large bowl, and put the strained broth back into the pot.

Add the chicken back to the broth. Swish about a cup or two of water in the empty chicken bowl and pour into the pot as well.

Keeping the heat on low, add all the rest of the ingredients above.

Bring the soup to a boil, then turn down to a slow simmer.

Place on the lid a little to the side to make a vent, and cook for 20-45 minutes, or until the chard is soft like spinach.

Serve the soup with lime slices, salt, Siracha, and……. on the side.



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