Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup (Oil Free and Vegan)

Anyone who reads this blog knows that we are very susceptible to the power of suggestion. We hear a dish mentioned, and we just absolutely must make it. At the I Love Memphis blog, the Tom Yum soup at Shanghai was mentioned as one of the 10 best things this year. (View the complete list HERE.) 

Anytime I eat Thai food, I always longingly stare at the Tom Yum on the menu. It always contains shrimp stock and chicken stock -- it's just how that soup is made. So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and come up with a great vegetarian version of this classic soup. 

Kombu is the key here. It's a sea vegetable, and it has the highest amount of umami of any vegetable. The part of the shrimp, a classic component of this soup, is being played by king oyster mushrooms which, as you can tell by their name, have a very 

seafood-like texture and flavor. These elements paired with the fragrant punch of the broth, the spiciness of the sambal, and the acidity of the lime make for one great bowl of soup.

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup

2 stalks  lemongrass
1 quart low-sodium vegetable broth (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
3 lime leaves
1/2 inch sliced ginger
1/2 ounce kombu (about 3 small sheets, rinsed)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon (or more)  sambal
2 tablespoons vegetarian fish sauce (or soy sauce)

4 cloves crushed garlic
1 cup tomato wedges
1 red pepper (sliced)

1 cup full-fat coconut milk  (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
1 1/2 cups sliced and quartered king oyster mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1 lime (quartered)

Trim the ends off of the lemongrass and peel away the first two layers. With the back of your knife or a frying pan, beat the lemongrass until it splinters. Cut into 4 pieces and set aside. In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil with the lemongrass, lime leaves, ginger, kombu, brown sugar, fish sauce (or soy sauce), and garlic. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer; allow this mixture to cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Strain out the solids leaving only a fragrant broth. Return the broth to the saucepan over medium heat. Add the tomato, red pepper, and coconut milk. Allow the tomato and pepper to warm through. Just before serving, stir in the king oyster mushrooms. (They're easy to overcook and become rubbery of they sit in the hot broth for too long.) Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of lime. (Serves 4 as a starter and 2 for dinner.)


Bianca said...

Yum!! I have a jar of vegetarian Tom Yum paste lurking in my fridge, and it makes a tasty soup. But I bet homemade is better!

Unknown said...

"Anyone who reads this blog knows that we are very susceptible to the power of suggestion."

Send me all your money now, lol!

Seriously that Tom Yum soup looks gorgeous.

I've got some great articles at

And I'll be sure to bear you in mind when I finally get round to doing a veggie blogs roundup!