Tom Kha (Thai Vegetable Galangal Soup)

Tom Kha (Thai Vegetable Galangal Soup) by

Play with your food. Make a mess in the kitchen.  Your meals will become routine if you don’t. 

The diversity in Southeast Asian cuisine is the consequence of cooks not shy about playing with their food.  For example, fiddling with the ingredients of Tom Yam Goong and then adding in coconut milk to create Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Galangal Soup)

Or forget the chicken - dump the Gai – to make a vegetable version called Tom Kha (Thai Vegetable Galangal Soup).

Tom Kha (Thai Vegetable Galangal Soup) by

Omitting the chicken broth from a traditional chicken soup recipe probably won’t leave the soup with much flavor.  But with Tom Kha, you won’t realize that anything is amiss as you sip the rich, spicy, aromatic, Thai soup concocted from the steamy fusion of vegetable broth, coconut milk, and the tropical spices of galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai bird’s eye chili peppers. 

With the base soup ready, just add in you favorite veggies.  For my recipe here, I kept it simple and tossed in a combination of cauliflower, carrots, long beans, onions and tomatoes.  Sometimes, I’ll add in a meaty vegetable like pumpkin, eggplants, or mushroom.  Or even chunks of fresh pineapple to lend a light sweetness to the soup. 

Dump the Gai, and enjoy a bowl of Tom Kha all to yourself!

Tom Kha (Thai Vegetable Galangal Soup) by

shop lemongrass powder, kaffir lime leaf powder and galangal powder at Season with Spice shop

Thai Vegetable Galangal Soup (Tom Kha) by Season with Spice 
Serves 2-3

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp Season with Spice's Lemongrass powder or 2 stalks lemongrass - outer layers removed, ends trimmed, and stalks sliced into 2-inch pieces
1.5 tsp Season with Spice's Galangal Powder or fresh galangal, sliced into thin disc
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn and bruised lightly
1/2 cup coconut milk 1 small cauliflower – cut into florets
Half a red onion – cut into chunks
Half a carrot – sliced into matchsticks
Long beans (or green beans) – sliced into 2-inch pieces
2-3 Thai bird’s eye chili peppers, lightly crushed or 2 dried thai red chili peppers
1 tomato – quartered
2 tbsp fish sauce (or salt to taste for pure vegetarian)
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp Thai chili paste called Nam Phrik Phao (optional)

1. In a pot or sauce pan, combine vegetable broth, lemongrass, galangal powder, and kaffir lime leaves. On medium fire, bring soup to a boil.
2. When soup begins to boil, reduce the fire to bring the soup to a simmer. Add in coconut milk, cauliflower, onion, carrots, long beans. and Thai chili peppers. Stir occasionally. Once the cauliflower and beans are almost cooked, add in the tomato.
3. Once all the vegetables are cooked and tender, season with fish sauce (or salt), lime juice, and Thai chili paste (if using). Taste and make adjustment if necessary.