I love tom kha gai, the Thai chicken coconut soup. After finally visiting my local Asian grocery store, I had the ingredients to work on a vegetarian version. In the process of researching the soup I learned that gai means chicken. Since I was making a version with tofu, the soup is called tom kha taohu.
- 6 cups vegetarian “no-chicken” broth
- 2-3 inch piece galangal, sliced
- 3 stalks lemongrass, cut into 3-inch sections
- 10 makrut lime leaves, bruised
- 1 pound soft tofu, cut into pieces 1-inch square by ¼-inch thick
- 2 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 ounces fresh maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms, sliced
- 4-6 Thai bird chiles, sliced
- 13.5-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- salt (to taste)
- ½ ounce fresh cilantro, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- Put the broth, galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves in a medium-large pot. Set over high heat until simmering, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove and discard the galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves. Add the tofu, mushrooms, and chiles. Set heat to medium-high until simmering. Return heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and sugar. Taste and adjust salt if necessary. Let simmer for a few minutes, until hot. Serve garnished with cilantro.
If you would like it extra spicy, add a drizzle of chile oil to your bowl. For non-vegetarians, a splash of fish sauce is also tasty.