Mmm tom yum. I always get in these soup kicks. I’ll go through a phase where I’ll crave a certain type of soup and eat it all the time for a while, until a new soup catches my attention. My current soup kick is Japanese ramen, but a few years ago it was all about tom yum. In this vegetarian tom yum, I used chili paste with fermented soy beans instead of fish sauce and nam prik pao (because it has shrimp in it) to give it some unami-ish taste. I didn’t have any homemade stock and used a Trader Joe’s brand that I decided I didn’t like. It was very iron tasting and even with all these flavorful ingredients, I could still taste a little bit of that broth in the background. I need to make some stock soon!
You can get galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves at Thai or big Asian markets (like 99 ranch). There really isn’t a substitute for any of these ingredients, but you can use dried galangal and lemongrass in a pinch. Some people say you can use ginger instead of galangal, but I don’t think they taste anything alike. Galangal is almost medicinal and mustard-like in a way. It is a very interesting ingredient!
4 cups vegetable broth or stock
2 tablespoons chili paste with fermented soy bean
2 inch piece fresh galangal sliced
2 lemongrass stalks with some of the harder outside peeled off then cut into 2 inch pieces and smashed with the side of a big knife
4-5 lime leaves crushed a little
1 tablespoon tamarind (this is not traditionally in tom yum, but I like it :-))
Maggi or soy sauce to taste
Salt to taste
1 can straw mushrooms drained (peeled and whole)
4 ounces sliced white mushrooms
1/2 package tofu cut into squares
1 tomato sliced
1-2 green chilis (chopped if you like it spicy, sliced lengthwise if not (so you can avoid when eating))
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup cilantro
- In a medium sauce pan cook the vegetable broth (preferably homemade stock!) with the chili paste, galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves for a while to get all the flavors into the broth.
- Add the tamarind, maggi, salt, straw mushrooms, white mushrooms, tofu and tomato and cook until the tofu and tomato are heated through.
- Take off the heat and add the chilis and lime, and top with cilantro.