Friday, November 10, 2006

Tom Yum Thai Soup


* 5 cups vegetable broth (makes enough soup to serve 4 people)
* 1 stalk lemongrass (for complete instructions on how to cook with lemongrass, see below)
* 3 kaffir lime leaves (fresh, frozen, or dried)
* 6-8 cubes deep fried or firm tofu, cut into small cubes
* 1-2 small green or red chillies (depending on desired spiciness), sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 bell peppers, red and green
* a handful of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
* 2 Tbsp. vegetarian fish sauce (or substitute with soy sauce or tamari)
* optional: 6 oz. dried wheat, rice, or egg (if non-vegan) noodles (or enough for 4 people)
* 1/3 cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
* 1 can coconut milk
* optional: additional Thai red chillies (sliced and de-seeded or left whole)


1. For complete instructions on how to buy and cook with lemongrass, see: All About Lemongrass: Your Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking with Lemongrass.
2. Pour stock into a deep cooking pot.
3. Place lemongrass slices in a food processor and process until finely grated, or pound by hand with a pestle & mortar and add to the broth. Cut the leftover stalk into 2-4 inch sections and lightly score. Add these to the broth as well - this will provide even more lemongrass flavor (but make sure your guests don't try to eat the stalks, as I once did!)
4. Add garlic, chillies (including whole chillies, if using) and lime leaves to broth. Bring to a boil and continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until broth is fragrant.
5. Add the noodles (if using) and stir until broken apart. Turn heat down to medium-high.
6. Add tofu, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Cook for 5-8 minutes, or until noodles are done.
7. Turn down the heat to low and add the coconut milk and fish (or soy) sauce. Test the soup for spice and salt, adding more chillies if not spicy enough. Add more fish (or soy) sauce (instead of salt) as desired.
8. To serve, ladle into bowls with coriander sprinkled over and quarters of fresh lime on the side. Enjoy!

Note: The coconut milk can be omitted to create a lighter soup (if being served as an appetizer, for example).


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