Vegan Allergy Friendly Tom-Kha Soup Recipe

I first ate Tom-Kha soup in Portland, Oregon in late July/early August of 2006 – my husband’s cousin made the recommendation and for a citrus fan like myself, the flavor was fantastic.  I didn’t remember the name of the soup, though, I knew it had coconut milk and a very distinct lemon flavor.  It wasn’t something I had a chance to have again until my friend took me out to lunch at a local Thai restaurant (Komol – not remotely allergy friendly given the heavy use of nuts in Thai cuisine but a great place if you’re vegan or vegetarian with no allergy concerns).  The lemongrass and coconut mentioned on the menu had me wondering if “Tom-Kha Mushroom Soup” was what I had enjoyed in Oregon — I was right!

Google yielded this veg friendly recipe on a site called “Flip Cookbook” – it has great step by step instructions with photos so do head on over and check it out.  The recipe as written features soy sauce and tofu, so I thought I’d try to simplify things and make the soup top 8 allergy friendly.

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Ingredients

  • 5 cubes of Massel Vegetable Bouillon dissolved in 5 cups of water (I don’t normally suggest things by their brand name but I adore this veggie stock, plus it is gluten free)
  • 1 fresh lemongrass stalk (I found this by the fresh herbs at our grocery store)
  • 1 can of Thai Coconut Milk
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced with stems removed
  • 20 grape tomatoes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • Fresh lime juice to taste
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Bring five cups of water to a boil on the stove, then add the five bouillon cubes (if you’ve bought a 4 cup carton of vegetable stock you can just use that and add some water).
  2. Follow the directions here for the lemongrass (essentially cut off the end to add to the pot and remove some outer layers before food processing the remainder into a fine mince) and add to the pot, simmer for a few minutes.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, sliced mushroom, garlic, and sliced carrot and continue simmering.  After five minutes, add the tomatoes and continue on medium-high heat.  At this point I covered the pot and reduced the heat a little to try to get the carrots a little more tender but I needn’t have worried.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of salt at this point or let people salt to taste later.  Same goes for the fresh lime juice, I added some while cooking (juice from 1/2 of a lime) and then added some to the bowl when serving for an extra boost.
  5. Add the contents of the can of coconut milk to the pot and bring back to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  In the colder months the coconut milk will have likely separated so don’t be surprised if some of it is solid at the top and there is coconut water at the bottom.

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Once the soup is heated through, it is ready to serve!  It is surprisingly easy and quick to prepare – a perfect spring soup.

A Visit to Star Nursery

This is a great outing for kids, we went to Star Nursery this weekend (go early, it is warming up fast and it gets busy there as well).  They have a small fish and turtle pond and you get to pull your kids and purchases around in a red wagon.  They love it!

We planted garlic, carrots, tomatoes (better boy, early girl, and cherry varieties – this article suggested some but we had luck with early girl last year), pumpkin, snap pea, strawberries (two varieties), cilantro, basil, dill, parsley, and apple mint.  We also planted two flowering plants (cassias) and a nectarine and peach tree.  I love fruit trees, we have a pomegranate working along already and a large fig tree.  You can see the peach tree blossom in the shot above with the nectarine we bought behind it.  I also splurged (ok, it was $3.99 and we had a 20% off coupon off the back of the water authority 2011 calendar) on a kneeling pad so I can kneel on it for weeding.  It is awesome!  Oh, and a pair of gardening gloves so that I can work with R watching me and grab him with clean hands if he suddenly wants to be picked up.

I put the herbs in a container but if one of them takes over I’ll do some moving around.  Won’t it be great if I can just grab a handful when I’m cooking?  I had luck with mint last year and basil the year before that.  Here’s hoping!

We also took the kids out in the bike trailer to the park and had a great time.  R actually fell asleep both ways and we got some good family exercise in.  I love my new bike, my husband got it for my birthday and it is a Specialized Ariel (not the same model, mine is blue but maybe bike shops have a different selection?).  The shop in boulder city gave us 10% off which really helped and I found a helmet at Costco this past week.

I will take some pictures of the tomatoes, etc. once I am done putting the mulch down around them.  The article I linked to above said to pick varieties that mature in 70 days or less because you don’t want to hit the high heat.  Then you can encourage fruiting again later in summer for another crop but at above 90 degrees the flowers will fall from the tomatoes so you have to plant now and buy the bigger plants, not the little 6 packs.  Of course if I planned better I could have started my own seedlings for cheaper on the porch a while back but I don’t have that much time.

I love spring!

Salad With Cilantro Lime Dressing, Brown Rice Couscous, and Roasted Curry Chickpeas Recipe

(Linked to Cybele Pascal’s 3/25/11 Allergy Friendly Friday, click through for other allergy friendly links!)

I posted pictures (note the expert mushroom slices above, they were done by my husband, I still have a lot to learn about using a knife properly but mushrooms taste better when he chops them so thinly), the cilantro lime dressing recipe, and the roasted curry chickpeas recipe.  Here’s where it all comes together!  Maybe it is silly to have a recipe for a salad as I suppose this is more like a “meal idea” but at any rate, here goes nothing. . .

Supplies

2 quart saucepan

Knife, Peeler, Cutting Board

Ingredients

Green Leaf Lettuce

Mushrooms

Onions

Red Peppers

Tomatoes

Cucumbers

Carrots

(Any other veggies you like, we’ve used Jicama even)

1 cup brown rice couscous cooked to package directions or quinoa (red or regular: amazon affiliate link) and water or veggie broth

Directions

To make the quinoa, you just need to use 2 cups of liquid to every 1 cup of quinoa.  Rinse the quinoa, add it to the liquid in the pot and heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to low, cover and set your timer for 15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork before serving.  We usually eat this salad with quinoa but for the pictures we used brown rice couscous by Lundberg because we’d had quinoa tabbouleh the day before.  My husband likes this with red quinoa over the regular sort and I do enjoy it that way but most people say there’s not a difference between regular and red quinoa.

Make a base of lettuce, add your grain of choice, top with veggies, then salt to taste, add roasted chickpeas, and finally drizzle with dressing.

Trust me, it is delicious!  I don’t even miss ranch dressing with this one.

Vegetable and Bean Soup Recipe

(Shared on the 4/8/11 Allergy Friendly Friday page at Cybele Pascal’s blog, check it out for great ideas and recipes!)

Grandma is holding R as I type, let me see if I can get this into the computer (usually I use my iPod Touch but for heavy typing it is annoying to use). . .

Here is a link to the photos I posted yesterday, I picked my favorite “in progress” shot and placed it above, I really like the shower of water drops on the drained beans.  The final picture is the soup straight from the pot yesterday.  E was a good helper but she is sick so she wasn’t as content as usual to be cooking.  R needed attention as I was finishing prep but that is how it goes.  You could do a lot of chopping the night before if your kids are better at being patient then, just put the potatoes in water to soak in the fridge after chopping so they don’t get brown.  I’ve read that you should cook right after chopping (something about cell walls in veggies) but I am not sure the nutrient level goes down much, if at all.

So I like to use Bob’s Red Mill’s 13 Bean Soup Mix, I use Subscribe and save with free shipping to get it for $13.29 (you can always cancel the subscription right after or do a long schedule, I do 6 months, and when they’re about to re-ship they email you with a week of time so you can cancel/check for better prices), then divide the bag in half by weight so each portion of beans for 4 quarts of soup is $1.67.  Here’s an amazon affiliate link (disclosure: I get some percentage of the sale with that link).

My friend asked for this one after her daughter enjoyed it.  It makes me so happy when people enjoy what I make!  This is a variation on a soup my mom made for us as kids so I dedicate my first recipe post to her.  She also taught me to cook especially after I had my first baby.  Thank you muttie!

With that, on with the recipe!

Supplies

5 quart pot

Colander (Sieve)

Large Bowl

Knife, Peeler, Cutting Board

Ingredients

14.5 Ounces of Dried Beans (my mix has Navy, Black, Red, Pinto, Limas, Large Limas, Garbanzo, Great Northern, Kidney Beans, Black-eyed, Yellow Split, Green Split Peas, and Lentils.)

1/2 medium onion, diced

7 ounces celery (about 3 stalks), chopped

7 ounces peeled and chopped carrots (about 6 or 7)

2 pounds russet potatoes, chopped in 2 inch chunks (you can use other kinds but the soup might not get as thick)

6 ounce can of tomato paste

3 tablespoons dried parsley (I was out of fresh)

4 teaspoons granulated garlic (out of fresh, I usually use 4 cloves, minced)

1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil

2 teaspoons turmeric (no worries if you don’t have this, I love turmeric though!)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika (or regular is fine, if you like a more assertive smoky flavour, use more)

1 tablespoon salt (plus to taste)

1 tablespoon pepper

4 tablespoons olive or canola oil

4 cups vegetable broth

3 cups water

Directions

The night before, soak your beans in a big bowl covered with two inches or so of water.  The next day, put your pot on the stove and heat it on medium (I have an electric stove so I use the middle setting, it should be high enough to get your oil shimmering).  Chop your onions, add your oil to the pan and add onions once the oil shimmers when you tilt the pan.

While the onions fry (stirring occasionally), chop your celery, carrots, and potatoes.  You can also mince your garlic now.  After the onions are softening, add garlic and your spices (in the pictures I added the salt and pepper later with the potatoes but you can do what you like).  Stir to mix and let everything fry for a minute.

Now add your carrots and celery, mix and fry another minute or two.  I had to read Green Eggs and Ham to E at this point (she was on the counter watching) so I ended up cooking too long and needed to deglaze the pan.  This is where you pour a splash or water (I use the water in my tea kettle) into the pan and stir to get the nice fried bits off the bottom.  If you have a non-stick pot you won’t have to do this.

Add your potatoes and stir.  Drain and rinse your beans.  Add the whole can of tomato paste and stir.  Now add your beans, then 4 cups of broth (the whole box if you buy it in quarts, I had E help open it, it is a nice way to give a child ownership of a meal to let them help as much as they can).

I usually don’t measure the water I add, I fill the rest of the pot with water until it hits the rivets.  This time it was 3 cups.  If you add more veggies or have less for some reason, you’d end up adding differing amount of water.  Bring the soup to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low.  I reduced it to the “warm” setting (my settings are warm, low, 3, 4, and 5) and it took 2-3 hours at this setting for the beans to be cooked.  If you cook too long it is still really tasty but the beans come apart.  This makes me think it would be a great crock pot recipe but I haven’t tried that yet.

Serve with a dash of lemon juice and salt (my favorite style) or with tabasco sauce (my husband likes this, though it has vinegar of a type E can’t have we keep it in the house because she doesn’t eat it, it is one of the few “unsafe” things we keep).

This served 3 adults, 1 toddler, and 1 baby (he ate a mashed potato from the pot) for dinner (with some allergy free biscuits made by my mother in law, they are so good!) and provided a container for my husband’s lunch tomorrow.  It will also be lunch for the rest of us today.

As always, soup is better the second and third day.