Saturday, February 4, 2012

Vegan Thai Coconut Soup with Veggies

Several years ago, my mom gifted me a vegan cookbook which turned out to be one of my most used cookbooks. Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson has become a go-to source for many of our favorite, easy meals at home and potlucks.  All the recipes, even the "ethnic" dishes call for ingredients that are easy to come by.  I also love the fact that almost all the recipes are not labor intensive and have few ingredients ... yet they taste great.  Just a perfect companion for me in the kitchen.  I highly recommend the book ... you can get it here and view Robin's website and blog here, if you like. 

Here, I added bean thread noodles, optional

This Thai-Style Coconut Soup tastes close to authentic yet it's vegan and there's no need to run to the asian market. It's easy. Unfortunately, my boys H-A-T-E mushrooms and aren't fans of coconut ... which is a disappointment but all the more for me :).

Browned tofu with soysauce

This soup is great with my homemade spring rolls (another recipe I've been meaning to post) but if served as a main course, I like to add in a nest of bean thread noodles for a more hearty consistency.  It's up to you.

Thinly sliced mushrooms, red onion and shaved carrot

Vegan Thai Coconut Soup with Veggies 
Adapted from Vegan Planet cookbook by Robin Robertson

Serves 4 or double for a larger batch

1/2 lb. tofu
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 shallots very finely minced 
2 cups white or baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
2 cups packed baby spinach
3 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon asian chili paste (optional)
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
Juice and zest of one lime
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Handful of chopped cilantro, for garnish

1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin
1 large carrot, peeled and shaved
Thinly sliced Napa cabbage or bok choy
Handful of bean thread noodles and/or ️Bean sprouts (add last with the spinach)

1.  Place shallots and ginger in a food processor and process until finely minced. If a food processor is unavailable or too big to get out for such a small request, be sure to get the shallots and ginger finely minced using your chopping knife until it is almost a paste.   

2.  Drain tofu and slice, lengthwise into five pieces.  Lay tofu on a kitchen towel lined with paper towel and fold over top to cover the tofu completely. Place a cutting board, weighted with a few cans of food, on top of the tofu and let sit for 15-20 minutes, while you slice the veggies. This will help remove excess moisture. Cut tofu into 1/4-inch dice.  Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a cast iron skillet over med-hi heat and stir in tofu. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon tamari and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.

3.  Add remaining oil to a large stock pot and place over medium heat. Sauté shallots and ginger; stirring for about 3 minutes. When tender, add the mushrooms and any other hearty vegetables you desire (except spinach), and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, remaining tamari, sugar, and chili paste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4.  Add the coconut, tofu, lime juice and zest, and lemon juice and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add spinach and bean thread noodles, cover and let sit 5-10 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with cilantro. 

Best if served immediately and eaten the day of but it can be reheated the next day, if needed.