When you have a healthy mind and body, you put passion and zeal into everything you do.
It can be quite an ordeal to get a tom yum soup that is a purely vegetarian recipe without the fish sauce and meat. The store bought tom yum paste is made predominantly with fish sauce. So I tried experimenting with the tom yum soup with vegetables, mushrooms and tofu, and my own paste which turned out delicious.
The must-have ingredients for the tom yum soup recipe are the lemon grass, lime leaves and galangal (which belongs to the ginger family but tastes slightly different), apart from the more common ingredients like shallots, red chilies, and lime.
A healthy twist to the traditional recipe – I used almond paste in place of coconut milk. The mushrooms and tofu provide the protein and other nutrients in place of the meat.
Let me share a few words about the health benefits of lemongrass: We are familiar with lemon grass as a great flavor in herbal teas, as an essential oil, and fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Did you know that lemongrass is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent that relieves headache, indigestion, abdominal and muscle pain, reduces fever, stimulates the uterus and regulates menstrual flow? The lime leaf is also used as a herbal remedy for various conditions ranging from common cold to hypertension, due to its vitamin C content and antioxidant properties.
Now for the recipe:
Ingredients: (for 2 bowls of tom yum soup)
Carrot – 1 diced
french beans – a few, cut into 1-inch pieces
button mushrooms – 100 gms, diced
shallots – 6, sliced
tofu – 100 gms, cubed
lime leaves – about 6
juice of 1 lime
cilantro – chopped
salt to taste
For the paste:
Lemongrass – 2 stalks
galangal – 1-inch piece, chopped
red chili – 2 (the big, non-spicy ones as in the picture above)
almonds – 10, roasted
Tear off and discard the outermost leaf of the lemongrass. Also, trim off the tips which may be fibrous. Cut out the lemongrass bulbs(base), chop and make a paste (using a blender) with the rest of the ingredients listed above for the paste.
Diagonally slice the rest of the lemongrass stalks (the upper part) into 2-inch pieces and lightly pound with the back of a knife. Combine the lemongrass with the vegetables, shallots, mushrooms, lime leaves(torn into halves), tofu and water.Boil until the vegetables are almost cooked. Add the lemon grass paste and boil for another 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and add lime juice, salt, and cilantro and serve. The lemongrass pieces and lime leaves may be discarded before serving. The flavor would have already got infused into the soup.
- If you want the soup to be creamier, add a few more almonds or cashews.
- The tom yum soup can be transformed into a healthy one-pot meal by adding brown rice vermicelli:
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