Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup
Alpha / Flickr / CC By 2.0
  • 35 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings
Ratings (28)

Tom Yum Thai soup is the most popular recipe of all the Thai soups. It usually includes shrimp, but a vegetarian version is just as satisfying. Tom Yum Soup is famous worldwide, and could possibly boost the immune system and help fight off cold and flu viruses.

The authentic Tom Yum recipe does not include coconut milk. However, some people prefer it with this ingredient (which makes it Tom Kha), resulting in a thicker, richer tasting soup. Coconut milk is listed as optional here--if you decide to omit it be sure to add a little more stock. In Thailand, they often use Carnation evaporated milk, which is a good option for vegetarians, while vegans will prefer to use coconut milk.

This vegetarian/vegan version is easy to make, and just as healthy (if not more so) than the traditional recipe. Make this easy soup today as an appetizer, for lunch or as a nutritionally complete dinner. You'll love how it warms and energizes!

What You'll Need

  • 5 to 6 cups good-quality vegetable or faux chicken stock
  • 1 to 2 stalks lemongrass , minced, or 3 to 4 tablespoons frozen prepared lemongrass (available at Asian markets)
  • 3 whole kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian markets)
  • 1 to 2 red chilies, sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chili, or 1 to 2 teaspoons chili sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms (such as shiitake), sliced
  • 2 cups baby bok choy, leaves separated or chopped if large (or substitute broccoli or bell pepper)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk, optional
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce (use wheat-free for gluten-free diets)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 to 2 cups soft tofu, sliced into cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly chopped

How to Make It

  1. Pour stock into a soup pot. If making the stock from cubes or powder, but sure to make it strong (if it tastes good on its own, it will make a better soup). Add the prepared lemongrass, plus the lime leaves, chili, garlic and galangal or ginger. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, or until broth is very fragrant.
  2. Add the mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.
  1. Add the bok choy and cherry tomatoes. Gently simmer 1 to 2 more minutes (bok choy should remain on the crisp side).
  2. Reduce heat to low and add the coconut milk, if using, sugar, soy sauce and lime juice. Add the soft tofu and gently stir.
  3. Do a taste-test, adding more chili or chili sauce if not spicy enough. If not salty enough, add more soy sauce or a little more stock or salt. Add 1 more teaspoon sugar if too sour. If too salty or sweet, add another squeeze of lime juice.
  4. To serve, ladle soup into bowls with fresh basil and coriander sprinkled over.