You know that giant wall of canned soups at the grocery store? Have you ever found that no matter which can you pull from the seemingly endless variety, that the soup inside usually tastes pretty much the same? Canned soup tastes like, well, the can. And sodium. Lots of sodium.

If you’re craving a soup that doesn’t taste like heavily salted aluminum, go homemade. Simmering a pot isn’t hard and because most soup recipes usually make big batches, you can dole out your creation to friends or family. (Doing so with a couple cans of beef barley doesn’t quite deliver the same effects.)

So which soup to make?

We recommend this Thai riff on chicken soup, prepared by Gregory Gourdet, a Top Chef alum and Portland-based chef. Spoonful for spoonful, this soup packs more salty-sweet-spicy-tangy flavors than any canned soup lining the shelf.

Chicken and Mushroom Soup with Coconut Milk and Chiles
Recipe by Gregory Gourdet, executive chef of Departure in Portland, OR

What you’ll need:
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled, julienned (about 1 Tbsp)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 Thai chiles, thinly sliced
½ Tbsp salt, plus more for seasoning
1 liter chicken stock
1 liter coconut milk
¼ cup palm sugar or maple syrup
¼ cup fish sauce
¼ lb skinless chicken thighs, cubed
¼ cup lime juice
½ bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
6 to 8 cilantro springs
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges

How to make it:
1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil and heat until the oil shimmers. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, chiles, ½ Tbsp salt, chicken stock, coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by half, 60 to 90 minutes.
2. While the soup reduces, heat the remaining oil in a large skillet. Season the chicken with salt and add to the pan, working in batches if necessary. Sear the chicken on all sides until lightly browned, but not cooked through, about . Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Reserve in the refrigerator.
3. Once the soup is reduced by half, add the chicken, along with any pan juices. Simmer the soup until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the lime juice and season with additional salt, to taste.
4. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Garnish with scallions, shallots, cilantro, and lime wedges. Makes 6 to 8 servings.