Cambodian Coconut Shrimp Soup

Quick and easy, this vibrant Cambodian-style Coconut Shrimp Soup with coconut milk, green beans, and tomatoes is perfect for a weeknight supper!

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6


For the lemongrass paste

  • 3 stalks lemongrass (or the zest of 1 lime and 1 lemon, plus additional lime juice to taste)
  • 1 (3-inch) piece fresh turmeric (or substitute 1 tablespoon ground turmeric)
  • 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • makrut (kaffir) lime leaves, finely sliced (optional)

For the soup:

  • 1 can (14-ounce) full-fat coconut milk, do not shake
  • 2 1/2 cups flavorful stock (fish, chicken, or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, such as Red Boat, plus more as needed
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 8 ounces French green beans (haricots verts), trimmed and halved
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 large handful Thai basil leaves

To serve:

  • Cooked rice
  • Lime wedges


1 Make the lemon grass paste: Peel away and discard the top outer layer of tough, fibrous leaves from the lemongrass, leaving the tender, lighter-colored inside layers. Cut this tender part into thin slices. Also peel and slice the turmeric, ginger, shallot, and garlic cloves.

Combine the lemongrass, turmeric, ginger, shallot, garlic, and lime leaves in a blender or food processor and process until the ingredients are finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the blender as necessary. Set the paste aside.

This paste can be prepared in advance and kept refrigerated for up to a week.

2 Separate the coconut cream from the milk: Do not shake the can of coconut milk. Open the top, and you should see a thick layer of coconut cream on top. Spoon this out of the can and transfer to a stock pot. Reserve the watery milk on the bottom.

If you don't see a clear layer of cream on top, then just add all the coconut milk at once.

3 Cook the coconut cream and lemongrass paste: Over medium-high heat, bring the coconut cream to a simmer. Add the lemongrass paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fragrant.

Add the remaining coconut milk from the can, the stock, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer.

4 Cook the vegetables and shrimp: Add the zucchini and green beans to soup. Simmer for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are just barely tender.

Add the shrimp and the tomatoes, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until pink and opaque. Stir in the basil leaves. Taste the soup and add additional salt, fish sauce, or brown sugar to taste.

Coconut Shrimp Soup from Cambodia

5 Serve: Ladle into bowls, and serve with rice and lime wedges. Leftovers will keep refrigerated for about 5 days.

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  • Lena

    Amazing soup! Rich taste and flavour, warming and unusual!


  • Cap

    Where can I get this ingredients in Vancouver

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Cap! Emma here, managing editor. Most of these ingredients should be available at a well-stocked grocery store. You can also definitely find them at Asian grocery stores. If you are up in Vancouver BC, then I know you have plenty of great Asian groceries up there so you shouldn’t have any trouble. If you’re in Vancouver Washington, then I’m not sure what you have right there in the city, but you can certainly find an Asian grocery in Portland. Enjoy!

  • Debbie McCarrick

    How long are these lemongrass stalks? At the store some are huge.

    • Sally

      Hi Debbie,
      Yes, they can be huge–here in Boston I see them mostly about 12 to 18-inches long. You have to peel a lot of the though fiber to get to the core, which is still pretty firm.

      Buy the stalks that look the least dried out, and perhaps you can sort through them to pick some that are not gigantic!

      Hope that helps,

  • Sandy S

    Sally, you have inspired me to make this dish. It sounds so good!! Thank you for all the detailed information and instructions. Checking my shopping list twice to be sure I have all of the ingredients. Can hardly wait to get it going!

    • Sally

      Sandy, that is very cool. I’m excited you are going to try it! Sally

  • Lisa

    This looks amazing, Sally!!! I’m going to cook this for my in-laws some time in the next week.

    • Sally

      Hi Lisa,
      Yay! I think you’re going to like it! I sometimes make this with pieces of chicken, too (either chicken tenders, or cut up pieces of boneless, skinless thighs) Have fun with it and stay warm! Sally