Chicken, Cashew and Coconut Soup with Pickled Zucchini

, from Issue #68. November, 2016
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Chicken, Cashew and Coconut Soup with Pickled Zucchini

A fabulous soup for all seasons, fragrant with kaffir lime leaves, coriander and cashew nuts. The quick pickled zucchini adds a sharp freshness. Serve it with bowls of cooked white rice to make it more substantial. 

Serves: 4-6


Spice paste
3 cloves garlic
1 small red onion
small handful coriander, stalks and leaves
¼ cup roasted cashew nuts, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 double kaffir lime leaves
500 grams boneless, skin-off chicken thighs
3 cups chicken stock
3 zucchini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1½ cups coconut cream
handful coriander and chopped chilli (optional), to serve 

Pickled Zucchini
2 medium zucchini
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
good grind black pepper



Spice paste: Roughly chop the garlic, onion and coriander and place in a small food processor with all the remaining ingredients and process to a smooth paste. You can also use a mortar and pestle.

Soup: Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan and add the spice paste and kaffir lime leaves. Cook gently over a low heat for several minutes, stirring frequently to prevent it catching on the base of the pan. It should smell fragrant and still retain its green colour.

Slice the chicken into 1cm strips and add to the saucepan. Season and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to coat well in the paste. Pour in the stock and simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes until tender but still firm. Pour in the coconut cream, season to taste, and heat until the soup is hot (but don’t let it boil or it may separate).  

To serve: Chop most of the coriander and stir into the soup. Ladle into bowls and top with the Pickled Zucchini (recipe below), if making, the extra coriander and crushed cashew nuts.

Pickled Zucchini:

Shave the zucchini into long strips using a vegetable peeler.

Put the vinegar, caster sugar and pepper in a large bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the zucchini and gently mix to combine. Marinate for 10 minutes, turning a couple of times.