I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely love the flavours of Thailand. Lemongrass, coconut, ginger and lime – they just go so well together! And while I could probably eat Pad Thai every day of my life (but wouldn’t), there’s something magical about coconut curry soup. What I’m not crazy about, however, is all the extra salt and sugar that my paranoid brain just knows is lurking in restaurant soups. Of course I love going out and eating beautiful, traditionally prepared foods from different cultures, but I don’t love feeling bloated (and dehydrated!) afterwards. This is my attempt to remedy that, resulting in something that is the best of both worlds. So I was at work yesterday and just had such a craving for soup. And while I always like my soups loaded with veggies (and flavour), I knew I wanted something extra special, something not typical for a mid-week dinner. So I took a trip to Korea town and was immediately drawn to the lemongrass, which then led me to some kaffir lime leaves and cilantro. Then I stumbled across some enoki mushrooms on sale, which I had never cooked with before, and was inspired to make my soup extra ‘shroomy.
This soup is admittedly a little time-consuming to prepare, though I think it felt like it took much longer simply because I was already hungry when I started cooking – never a good idea! I’ll let you decide if this is a weeknight kinda thing, or something you might serve at a dinner party with friends. You will totally impress them with how authentic this soup tastes! It would pair really well with some jasmine or brown basmati rice, but is quite filling on it’s own thanks to the protein from the tofu and the healthy carbs in the sweet potato. You’ll see carrots in the picture, which I would omit next time in favour of more sweet potato, as the texture and flavour wasn’t quite right. The next time I make this I’m going to try butternut squash. I can just taste the creamy goodness of the squash melting into this beautifully fragrant broth.
Update: I made this soup again tonight (August 26th) with just butternut squash and it was 100x better. Like I’m changing the ingredients below immediately amount of better. Yes yes yes!
Thai Coconut Soup with Tofu and Mushrooms (serves 4-6)
~ Gluten free, vegan option ~
For the broth
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 cans coconut milk (I used one light and one regular, to reduce the fat content without sacrificing creaminess)
- a big handful of cilantro stems
- 6-7 stalks lemongrass, chopped
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 2-4 red thai chillies, depending on how hot you like it
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- thumb sized piece of fresh galangal, or several pieces of dried galangal
- Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped (if using dried galangal or if you couldn’t find any)
- 14 kaffir lime leave
For the soup
- 3 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 3 tbsp fish sauce (or tamari, if vegetarian/vegan)
- juice of 3 limes, plus extra for serving
- 1 tsp tamari (if you used fish sauce)
- 1 small butternut squash, cubed
- 6 crimini mushrooms, diced
- 2 bunches of enoki mushrooms
- 1 package soft tofu, cubed
- 3 cups of no sodium added vegetable broth
- ¾ cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the cilantro stems, lemongrass, chillies, shallots, garlic, galangal, ginger, and lime leaves. Stir for a few minutes, until fragrant.
- Add both cans of coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes.
- Using a colander, pour everything into a bowl and discard the solids. If you have the patience, pick out some of the sliced shallots and add back in – not necessary, but I hate to waste a good shallot!
- While you’re picking away (if you are), add the vegetable broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Return the coconut milk broth to the pot and add the chopped sweet potato. Simmer, covered, for another 20 minutes. It may take longer, depending on how small your potato pieces are.
- Once they are cooked through, add in your mushrooms and tofu, along with the lime juice, tamari, sugar, and fish sauce (if using). Simmer for another few minutes before tossing in the cilantro.
- Taste before deciding whether to season with a bit of sea salt – the fish sauce and/or tamari may very well make it salty enough.
- Garnish with some more fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.