Barramundi Thai Coconut Soup
Recipe type: soup
Cuisine: Asian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
A flavorful take on Thai coconut soup made with Barramundi and topped with a fresh, fragrant lemongrass herb paste.
  • For soup:
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2" piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 sprig Thai basil
  • 1 can coconut cream (plus 2 cans full of water)
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into 3-4" pieces
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon nam pal (Thai fish sauce)
  • palm or coconut sugar, to taste (I used about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves (or zest of 1 large lime)
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 medium red potatoes, cut into half lengthwise and cut into ⅛" slices
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2-4 Thai chilies, sliced (to taste)
  • 8 ounces barramundi fillets, skin removed if desired, cut into ½" cubes
  • For herb paste:
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems
  • 1 small bunch mint
  • 1 small bunch Thai basil
  • 1" piece fresh ginger, cut into slices
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layers removed, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Instructions: In a large pot over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Add the shallot and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot starts to soften and the garlic is fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add the lemongrass, ginger, kaffir limes leaves, Thai basil, lime juice, coconut cream, 2 cans of water, palm sugar, and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and add the carrots and potatoes. Lower heat and let cook just until the carrots and potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Taste and add some salt, if needed.
  2. Add the diced barramundi and let the soup simmer on low heat just until the fish is cooked, about 10 minutes. If desired, you can remove the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and basil sprig before serving.
  3. Ladle into bowls and add top with a spoonful of the herb paste. Stir and eat.
  4. For herb paste: Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Transfer to a small bowl or jar until ready to use. Will keep for about one week in the fridge.
Lemongrass tips -
Look for lemongrass that isn't overly dried out. The outer layers will be dry, but the inside should not be. It should smell very pleasant - citrusy with floral notes. It will keep well in the refrigerator for several weeks.

To use in herb paste - bash the end of the stalk with the back of a chef's knife. (Be careful not to cut yourself!) This releases the natural oils and the lemongrass will be more flavorful. Remove the tough outer stalks until you get to the tender center. Chop the center into small pieces and use for the herb paste.

To use lemongrass for soup - peel away the very outermost layers, bash the end with the backside of a chef's knife as directed above, and cut stalk into 3- to 4-inch pieces. Use as directed in recipe.

All of the spices and herbs should be available at any Asian market. The barramundi is available at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Stop n' Shop, Safeway, some warehouse stores, and other large grocery stores around the U.S.
Recipe by Cafe Johnsonia at