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