Friday, February 4, 2011
Did you know its National Homemade Soup Day? That’s ok, I didn’t either. Not until a Facebook Vegas photographer friend brought it up today.
Without Facebook how would I get word of all these silly little days? Ooo I wonder what we’re celebrating tomorrow? National Ding Dong Day? Nah. I couldn’t get that lucky.
This Thai soup can be vegan, it can be vegetarian, you can even make a shrimp or chicken version. It’s totally adaptable to your own preferences.
Tom Kha, Thai Coconut Soup
Lemongrass and lime leaves are often found by the other small packages of fresh herbs in grocery stores, but if you can’t find them try an organic market. Shrimp and chicken adaptations below.
4 cups vegetable (or chicken) broth
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 dried Thai or other hot chiles, split lengthwise
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
1 package lemongrass, ends trimmed
1/2 package lime leaves
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into slivers
12 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch dices
2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce for vegan
1 to 2 tablespoons white vinegar, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a saucepan, combine the broth, garlic, chiles, ginger, 1/2 a package of lemongrass and 1/4 package of lime leaves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes to allow flavors to blend.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Discard the solids and return the liquid to the saucepan. Stir in the sugar, coconut milk, mushrooms, bell pepper, tofu, fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegan), 1/4 package of lime leaves and the rest of the lemon grass.
Simmer 15 minutes. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with bean sprouts, cilantro and Chili Garlic Sauce as desired. Do not eat lemongrass or lime leaves.
Prep time 15 minutes. Cook time 30 minutes.
Bottled Chili Garlic Sauce
For shrimp version: During the last 5 minutes of cooking time add a pound of raw shrimp and simmer until pink.
For chicken version: Add a pound of cooked and shredded chicken during the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Recipe and photograph by Laura Flowers.