When we were travelling, this was a favourite. It is very easy to make, and granted, you might not have all the ingredients on hand, but some of them can be kept in stock once you’ve got them.
Tom Kha is an aromatic coconut soup, although, I think it’s more like an aromatic curry. It is usually served with Thai jasmine rice on the side – maybe that’s why I find it more like a curry. However, we had it without any rice and it was still really satisfying. It’s done in one pot, so that’s a huge bonus, and takes 15 mins max. – huge bonus #2.
Tom Kha in Thailand is often made with chicken instead of the tofu used here, and there is usually nam pla (fish sauce) in the broth – we have substituted it for tamari here, but soy sauce is also fine.
- 1 tin of coconut milk
- 100ml water
- 1 stick of lemongrass – sliced diagonally
- 1 red chilli – split down one side
- 2 slices of galangal*
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 standard supermarket box of oyster mushrooms
- 1 block of tofu (clearspring recommended, cauldron OK) – cubed to large cubes
- 6 cherry tomatoes, halves, or 3 slightly larger ones, halved
- 1 banana shallot, or a couple of regular ones, or just half a white onion – cut into 4 large chunks
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- bunch of Coriander
- 1-2 spring onion sliced thinly
- Optional – Thai basil
- Thai jasmine rice, or any rice, really – cooked to your liking!
First, you need an aromatic broth.
- Add the water and tin of coconut milk to the pan.
- Drop the lemongrass, lime leaves, and galangal or ginger into it.
- Bring it to the boil for a minute or two
Then you need to poach the ingredients in the broth.
- Reduce the broth of a simmer and add the tofu cubes. The longer these are in the broth, the more of the broth they will absorb, and the more flavourful the tofu will become. Personally, I love the delicateness of tofu here.
- After 4/5 mins, add the shallot, mushrooms and chilli.
- After another 1-2 mins, add the tomatoes
Next, you season the broth.
- Add the lime juice, tamari or soy, and sugar.
- Taste the broth, again, it’s about balance. You should find it is sweet and tangy and spicy and salty. Adjust until you are happy. It is done!
To serve, ladle the soup into bowl, making sure everyone gets a fair share of all the good stuff. You can either remove the lemongrass, lime leaves, chilli and galangal if think your guests will accidentally eat it (like my Dad does), or leave it in if you think they are intelligent enough to identify it and avoid it. I personally think it looks nice left in, but it is annoying to avoid! Sprinkle the top with sliced spring onion and coriander, and a few thai basil leaves if you have them. Serve with rice or on its own. 🙂
*If you don’t have galangal, which is a relative of ginger, use fresh ginger. it’s not the same, but it is adequate. I’d do two or three slices about 3-4mm thick. If you get fresh lemongrass, this keeps well in the freezer, so you don’t need to buy it next time, and believe me, there’s a next time!