Thai spiced parsnip soup

Sophie Grigsons Thai-inspired recipe combines the sweetness of parsnip with zingy ginger and lemon grass and frisky doses of lime and fish sauce to create a modern variation on a British classic.
By Sophie Grigson
Thai spiced parsnip soup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 500 g parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, galangal, chopped
  • 2 stems lemongrass
  • 300-450mlvegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 x 400ml tin coconut milk
  • 0 1 limes, juice only
  • handful fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped
  • basil
  • handful fresh mint leaves


1. Put the oil, chillis, parsnips, onion, garlic and ginger (or galangal) into a large saucepan.

2. Cut off and discard the top of each stem of lemon grass leaving the lower, fatter 10cms or so.

3. Using either a meat mallet, the end of a rolling pin or the flat of a wide-bladed knife (press down on it firmly with your fist), semi-flatten the lemon grass stems so that they stay more or less in one piece, but are sufficiently damaged to release their flavour. Add them to the pan.

4. Stir the ingredients in the pot, then cover and place over a low heat. Leave to sweat gently, stirring once, for about 10 minutes.

5. Add 300ml stock and the fish sauce. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until the parsnip is very tender.

6. Remove the lemon grass, stir in the coconut milk, then liquidise the soup, adding some or all of the remaining stock if you find it too thick.

7. Before serving, reheat the soup, stir in the lime juice, then taste and adjust seasoning, adding more fish sauce if it tastes under-salted.

8. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the mixed herbs. Serve with bread.

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