My first experience of Tom Kha soup was at a potluck I held while briefly living in Washington, DC. One guest brought a pot of this soup and it was so good that I begged the recipe from her. Since then, we’ve made a few adjustments to suit our tastes and it’s become a favorite. If you’re feeling under the weather, the bright citrus notes of this soup can really give you a boost.
As with most of our soup recipes, this one has plenty of potential for customization. I like to add an egg or a handful of chickpeas to my bowl for some extra protein, and of course traditional Tom Kha often contains chicken. I’ve also been known to use the soup as a sauce for a bowl of greens or other vegetables. The soup freezes well and we’ve made it several times as part of our batch cook days.
Tom Kha soup
makes 8 servings
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, diced
2 thai chili peppers, minced (you can remove the seeds if you wish, we usually leave them in).
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup ginger root, grated
2 lemon grass stalks, cut into 3″ lengths
2 carrots, thinly sliced
28 oz coconut milk (we mix 1 can light coconut milk with 1 can coconut cream, if you use all light milk you may need to cut back on the citrus juice and the peppers)
1 tbsp lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp mustard powder
8 oz mushrooms, cut into quarters
4 c. vegetable broth or water
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1. In a 4-5 quart saucepan or pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and slightly translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and chili peppers and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
2. Add ginger, lemongrass, and carrots, cook for 1-2 minutes
3. Add coconut milk, lime zest, lime juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard powder, and mushrooms and bring to a simmer. Add broth or water, bring to a simmer again. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. If soup is too hot or citrus-y, you can tone it down with more coconut milk. Likewise, if soup is too mild, additional lime or lemon juice, or an additional chili may be needed.
4. Add cilantro leaves and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until leaves are wilted.
Serve, fishing out lemongrass stalks if desired (if eating on our own, we usually just leave them in and let them accumulate on the bottom of the bowl, but for guests we’ll make the effort to remove them).
Nutrition information (assumes 8 servings): 198 calories, 16.1 g fat, 11.3 g carbohydrate, 3.2 g protein, 1.3 g fiber