So I have some friends at work—MC and LB—who are workout buddies and cooking buddies. The catch is that MC is on the Paleo diet, and LB is a long-term vegetarian. Amazingly, these two things seem to mesh pretty well when they’re cooking! (MC even has a Paleo blog, where she posted a non-veg version of this recipe.) This is their take on all the different tom kha variations they found out there.
My first experience with this soup was at my favorite Thai restaurant in Chicago. There it was pure white, and stocked only with cilantro, tofu, green onion and mushrooms. Simple, but the perfect combination of flavors, and it quickly became one of my takeout go-tos.
Here, MC and LB futzed until they found their own version of tom kha, chock full of healthy veggies and spice.
4 cups Vegetable Broth
1 stalk Lemongrass, about 5 inches
3 cloves Garlic
1-1/2 inches Ginger, peeled (1-½ tablespoons minced)
2 Thai Chili Peppers
1/3 cup Red and/or Yellow Peppers
1 Carrot, thinly sliced
2/3 cup Butternut Squash, cooked and diced
½ cup Button, White or Straw Mushrooms, cut into quarters
14 oz can Coconut Milk
Juice of one Lime
Soy Sauce, to taste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
To prep, peel lemongrass until you see pale yellow. (If you already bought it peeled, you will skip this step.) Chop off 1/3 of stalk and set aside.
Bring vegetable broth to simmer over medium heat. Add 1/3 of stalk to pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
Mince the remaining 2/3 of lemongrass stalk, garlic, ginger and Thai peppers and add to pot. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
Add yellow peppers, carrots, squash and mushrooms. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Add coconut milk and lime juice. (If you’re using soy sauce, splash that in now too.)
Serve and enjoy!