This is some of my favourite soup. The first time I ever tried Thai soup is very memorable. I was traveling and had settled for my regular pad thai dish at the restaurant. Then, on a whim, I decided to try Tom Yum soup. I was in a different place seeing different things and I'd adventured out to try different food.You see, I didn't always love food adventures. I was very slow to embrace new cuisine. So that night, ordering that hot and sour soup, I began my journey into food exploration.
I never would've guessed that a few years later, I would actually have the opportunity to visit Thailand and Tom Yum soup would be considered regular faire - even so, my comfort food.
I like Thai food so much that I actually cultivate the spices: kefir lime, lemongrass, ginger, Thai chili peppers, Thai basil and garlic. You see, there's only so much curry paste can do for you. To get authentic Thai food, you need to have access to the freshest ingredients.
Tom kha is slightly different than tom yum. Where tom yum is bright and acidic, tom kha it's made with coconut milk and has a mellow sweetness to offset the lime juice.
Start by frying a bit of tofu. I find it's the quickest and easiest way to fry up tofu using a waffle maker. It works best in a locking waffle maker. Simply halve the block of tofu, coat with a bit of cooking spray and place the tofu in the cold waffle iron. I find mine works best by placing on the highest setting, your mileage may vary. Of course, you can always fry it in a traditional skillet. Then, mince garlic, ginger and onion. Add them to a hot pan with a bit of coconut oil and sauté until they've just begun to color. Then, add a bit of tamari sauce. I also like to add sriracha sauce and red curry paste. Pour in a few cups of water and coconut milk. Remember, this is a soup rather then a curry, so it will be slightly thin.
Add in a couple stalks of bruised lemongrass and finely minced kefir lime leaves. Simmer for a few minutes to let the flavors infuse. Then, add sliced carrots, bell peppers, sliced mushrooms and the tofu. I like to coarsely dice the tofu so that there are some good meaty chunks. Also oyster mushrooms, if they're available, are absolutely delicious in this dish. Remove the soup from the heat to keep the vegetables from turning mushy.
Finally, add a shot of lime juice and give it a good stir. Serve the soup garnished with fresh Thai basil leaves. I also like to add a bit of ripe tomato to add to the brightness.
This is become one of my favorite dishes, and I hope you love it too.