I’ve been on this kick lately where I can’t stop thinking about going back to Thailand. I first went in 2016, then I went back in 2018. Now that it’s 2020 it only feels right to endure the dreadfully long flight to Bangkok again. If I could make a trip there every two years for the rest of my life I would! Thailand is such a beautiful country with the most friendly and welcoming people. Not to mention, the food is absolutely delicious. Tom kha is one of my favorite Thai dishes and I can’t believe I haven’t shared it on the blog until now.
“Tom kha” roughly translates to “boiled galangal.” What the heck is galangal?! Galangal is a member of the ginger family, though its taste is quite distinct - it has a citrusy almost piney flavor. Some people would say that galangal and ginger aren’t interchangeable, but let’s be honest. Most of us don’t have easy access to an Asian supermarket. Therefore, I’m going to say they are interchangeable. Especially if it means the difference between making this delicious vegan tom kha soup and not!
Have you ever cooked with lemongrass? There's a little bit of a learning curve, but it's totally doable. To get to the usable part, you'll need to peel off the tough, fibrous layers until you reach the soft center. When you can pierce the lemongrass with your fingernail, you know you've hit the jackpot. If you still have trouble, there are a bunch of YouTube videos that can provide a visual demonstration.
I feel like I say this every time I publish a recipe inspired by international cuisine. I am *not* claiming authenticity here. If you’re looking for an authentic version of this recipe, I’d be happy to share it! I workshopped a vegan tom kha soup recipe while leading a retreat in Thailand and, if you can find all of the ingredients, it’s so worth the effort to make it. This recipe is creamy and rich, sweet and sour all at the same time. It takes a little finessing to achieve the right flavor balance, but don’t give up! This vegan tom kha soup recipe will transport your taste buds straight to southeast Asia, which I think we could all use this time of year.Print
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, bruised and sliced
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- ½ cup shallot, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 Thai chiles, thinly sliced (or swap for serrano peppers), plus more for garnish
- 2 15-oz. cans of full-fat coconut milk
- 1½ cups mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 lime, juiced
- Small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
For the rice:
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- Combine the vegetable broth, lemongrass, ginger, shallot, and Thai chiles in a deep skillet or soup pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the rice. Combine the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce the heat, and continue to cook for 15 minutes, until the water is fully absorbed.
- Strain the solid ingredients from the broth and return the broth to the pot. Add the coconut milk, mushrooms, cherry tomato, and salt. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Taste the soup and adjust the flavors if needed - it should be creamy, salty, and slightly sour. Add a few slices of Thai chile back to the pot if you’d like your soup to be a bit spicier.
- To serve, add some cooked rice to a bowl and push it to one side. Ladle the soup into the remaining half. Garnish with more fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.