nutritional information

Per 1-cup serving:

  • Calories: 126
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Total Fat: 3 g
  • Saturated Fat: <1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 811 mg
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Sugar: 4 g

Gaeng Khae (Spicy Thai Vegetable Soup)

Gaeng Khae (Spicy Thai Vegetable Soup)

Serves 4

This medicinal soup from the north of Thailand is believed to prevent and reduce colds and fever. The flavorful base is a hand-ground paste of chiles, garlic, lemongrass, and shallots. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, blend all the ingredients in a food processor. Serve with brown or red rice.
Chile Paste
  • 15 dried chiles de arbol or Japones chiles
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced (½ cup)
  • 1 tsp. red miso
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cups sliced beet greens, Swiss chard, escarole, turnip greens, or kale
  • 1 cup turnip or fennel chunks
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup firm tofu chunks
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped arugula
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped parsley

To make Chile Paste:

1. Soak chiles in bowl of boiling water 30 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and finely chop.

2. Combine garlic and salt in mortar, and pound with pestle. Add lemongrass, shallots, miso, and chiles, pounding and crushing after each addition to make thick paste.

To make Soup:

3. Bring broth to a boil in saucepan over high heat. Stir in soy sauce and Chile Paste. Add beet greens, turnip, and mushrooms, and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes. Add tofu, and cook 2 minutes more. Stir in arugula, mint, and parsley, and simmer 1 to 2 minutes, or until herbs wilt.

January 2010 p.72

you might also like


The 15 chiles are way too many. Should be cut down to 3-4 as the soup is way too hot.

Deborah ling - 2014-12-02 00:30:43

If I were to use an already prepared Thai chili paste, how much should I use?

Troy Mclure - 2014-10-24 23:45:31

This soup is SO DELICIOUS! We used 15 dried Thai chilis, Lacinato kale instead of beet greens and diced sweet potato instead of fennel because that's what we had on hand. We pored the soup over brown rice vermicelli before serving. This recipe is going in the regular rotation for sure!

Elena Hack - 2014-03-27 15:43:14

This was delicious. I will be making this regularly. The spicier the better, in my book, and as others have written, this is spicy! I added carrots to my soup (I add carrots to everything) and actually used more chiles de arbol then suggested. I'm very satisfied. Thanks so much for sharing!

Elena - 2014-02-23 03:23:50

I made this a week ago & made some changes to the recipe- I used a prepared chili paste instead & I added about 1/4 cup sweetened/shredded coconut to combat a little of the spiciness. I really loved it! I like spicy foods and this did not dissapoint. This is going to be a staple in my soup arsenal!

Kelly - 2014-02-19 18:59:22

Good soup

Maryse vienne - 2014-01-22 03:15:33

After reading all the reviews, my mouth is watering. Love spicy... Love bold flavors... :-)

Rita - 2014-01-21 22:57:25

Thai soup

Carole - 2014-01-21 16:59:40

This was awesome - I used 7 Thai chilis (they are spicier than the ones in the recipe so I used fewer), and after I tasted the broth and felt the chili was overpowering it I added an extra tablespoon of soy sauce. I also substituted spinach for the arugula and added carrots. Yum yum yum!!!

Kate - 2013-11-24 23:49:17

Flavor in this is great, but WAY too hot for us, and I even used half the chilies and replaced half the garlic with 2 inches of galangal, and I still needed to add 3 cups of broth and 2 tsp brown sugar to make it tolerably spicy! I doubled the mushrooms and used basil instead of mint since I was out.

Sarah - 2013-10-22 01:09:30

I loved this soup! I used all 15 chilis de árbol & it was really spicy & we liked it like that. This was my 1st time using fresh lemongrass & what a great experience it was. offers some great tips on choosing, storing, & preparing this's important to NOT use the woody green parts on the top 2/3s. The turnip was wonderful with Swiss chard & baby arugula.

S.Milks - 2013-02-20 01:18:08

I loved this soup! I only used half the amount of chilies and it was spiced perfectly for my taste. I also added a few extra cups of water. I used fennel instead of turnip which gave it that awesome licorice taste :).

Melissa - 2013-02-04 18:31:53

This is extremely spicy, so next time will use less chiles. Also, 4 cups of broth is definitely not enough! I used 10 cups of broth and think I could've used even more. I bought lemongrass at Whole Foods, and it was hard as a rock. It must've been old, so I had to discard it when I served the soup. Otherwise, nice and hot for a very snowy evening!

June Siegel-Hill - 2013-01-25 22:35:45

Made this and boy is it spicy, but GREAT! I used more water because I knew it would soak up all the veggies. Great recipe. - 2012-02-07 13:35:51

I'm long overdue to review this soup. I think I actually made it last winter when I was feeling a little under the weather. I've read a few comments that the soup is too spicy, but for someone that likes it hot (such as myself) this soup doesn't disappoint! The broth is so rich and flavorful, and the plethora of different veggies make for a textural delight. The soup was a tad time consuming, but absolutely worth it. I can't wait to try it with glass noodles!

Jen - 2011-03-18 10:56:45