Tom Kha with its burst of flavours is so delicious. Pairs perfectly with rice, you can have it as soup too. This vegetarian or vegan tom kha soup is made with coconut milk, vegetables and spices.
I love Thai cuisine especially their curries. As a spice lover, I love the spicy, sour, sweet and umami notes that are perfectly balanced here.
This recipe is so versatile and easy to make.
Use any vegetables in your pantry. As a matter of fact, this recipe is a great way to use leftover vegetables in your fridge.
I have made this one without protein but feel free to add cubed paneer or cottage cheese for vegetarians, tofu for vegans or boiled chicken or prawns for those that eat meat.
What Is Tom Kha?
Tom means boiling a broth and kha is galangal (which is similar to ginger). In fact, if I don’t have galangal at hand, I use ginger instead.
- Lemongrass and galangal: These two are the main flavouring agents in this soup. You can use them chopped and pounded. I make a paste by blending them and then straining out the course bits. If using them whole take them out after their flavours have been infused.
- Kaffir lime leaves: These give a lovely citrus taste and freshness to the soup. If you can’t find these, skip using them.
- Coconut Milk: Creamy coconut milk gives this delicious soup its body.
- Broth: If you have vegetarian broth, use it to give a deeper flavour to the soup. Else use plain water in its place.
- Thai chillies: I love the heat so I use chopped chillies to pep up the soup. You can skip these. You can also use cayenne in its place.
- Vegetables: I used about 3 cups vegetables for 4 serves. They taste gorgeous. Use any of choice.
- Onion and garlic: I use half chopped red onion and 3 cloves garlic minced when cooking the base of the soup to add more flavour.
- Lemon juice: It gives a delicious lemony flavour to the soup.
- Palm sugar: This balances out the flavours. You can use brown sugar or coconut sugar if you don’t have palm sugar.
- Soy sauce: This is perfect to add another layer of flavour. You can also use vegan fish sauce in its place for its umami flavour.
- Protein: Use paneer or cottage cheese, tofu or any meat or seafood of choice.
- Cilantro: Garnish with chopped cilantro.
- Coconut oil: Complements the flavour of coconut milk. If you don’t have, use olive oil or any other vegetable oil.
You will be surprised at how easy and delicious this vegan Tom Kha soup turns out when cooked at home. It is done in under 30 minutes.
Tom Kha is a coconut milk based soup that can easily double up as a curry when served with rice.
Tom Kha soup is wonderful as is. If you’ve added a protein to the soup, it can be eaten as a light meal. For carbs, one can serve with rice.
Yes, you can reheat it on low heat. Just remove the protein before reheating so that it does not get overcooked.
Chop and cut vegetables into similar sized pieces. You can use frozen vegetables too. I have used broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and mushrooms.
Chop half large onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Keep aside.
Chop two stalks of lemongrass. Discard greens. Take 6 kaffir lime leaves. Chop them.
Take 2 inches galangal and chop into pieces. Blend all three together to form paste.
Chop 3 Thai red chillies and keep.
After doing this prep, heat 2 tsp. coconut oil in a pan or work.
Add chopped onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes.
Add paste of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal to the pan.
If you don’t make paste, use them chopped. After boiling in stock, discard the aromatics.
Fry for a couple of minutes.
Add chopped vegetables except mushrooms. I add mushrooms towards the end so that they retain their size.
Then add about 2 cups of vegetarian broth or water to it.
Cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes till veggies are cooked.
You can pick out the chopped aromatics at this stage.
Add 1 can thick coconut milk to this along with vegan oyster sauce or soy sauce , thai chillies, palm sugar and chopped mushrooms.
Cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice. Mix well.
Add salt to taste. Remember the sauces already have salt. If using any protein, add it here.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot after tasting and adjust seasoning.
You can serve with boiled jasmine rice. Vegan tom kha soup is ready.
Here's the recipe card:
Vegetarian Tom Kha Soup
- ½ onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- 6 Kaffir lime leaves
- 2 inches galangal peeled and chopped
- 3 cups vegetables chopped broccoli cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms
- 3 Thai chillies optional as per taste
- 1 tbsp. vegan oyster sauce or soy sauce
- 14 oz. coconut milk or about 400 ml.
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. cilantro chopped
- ½ tsp. Salt or to taste
- 1 tsp. Palm sugar
- ½ cup chopped protein or choice optional eg. paneer tofu
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- Chop and cut vegetables into similar sized pieces. You can use frozen vegetables too. I have used broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and mushrooms.
- Chop half large onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic. Keep aside.
- Chop two stalks of lemongrass. Discard greens. Take 6 kaffir lime leaves. Chop them. Take 2 inches galangal and chop into pieces. Blend all three together to form paste.
- Chop 3 Thai red chillies and keep.
- After doing this prep, heat 2 tsp. oil in a pan or work. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook for about 4 minutes.
- Add paste of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal to the pan. If you don’t make paste, use them chopped. After boiling in stock, discard the aromatics.
- Fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add chopped vegetables except mushroom. I add mushrooms in the end to retain their shape. Then add about 2 cups of vegetarian broth or water to it.
- Cover and cook for about 10-12 minutes till veggies are cooked.
- Add 1 can or 400 ml. thick coconut milk to this along with vegan oyster sauce or soy sauce, chopped Thai chillies, palm sugar and chopped mushrooms. Add salt to taste. If using any protein, add it here.
- Cook for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and add lemon juice. Mix well.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot after tasting and adjust seasoning.
- You can serve with boiled jasmine rice. Vegan tom kha soup is ready.
2. You can use any protein of choice eg. paneer, tofu or chicken and shrimp if you eat meat. This must be added right towards the end to the soup.
3. Thai red chillies are hot and must be used as per taste. You can skip them too. If you can’t find chillies, you can use about ½ tsp. Cayenne in their place.
4. Using broth adds more flavour than water so it would be nice to source some vegetarian broth.
5. Vegetables can be varied as per what is available in your fridge. Just cut them into uniform sizes for uniform cooking.
6. You can store leftovers in the fridge for upto 3 days. The soup can also be frozen and will stay for 3 months in the freezer.
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