Have you heard of Bollywood Actresses’ reply when being asked their favourite Cuisine? Almost all of them say “Thai” and the least favourable Cuisine is “Italian”. Not that I am comparing the two, I equally adore both of these now. But back then, I always used to wonder why is Thai such a hot favourite for everyone. Well, now I know that, since it’s my hot favourite too and there is not just one reason behind it but many. First of all, it offers the taste that is closest to our Indian spicy mix. Secondly, good range of vegetarian options, plus most of the ingredients are mostly available easily in any part of the world. And last but not the least, its healthier than most of the fried and cheesy stuff we get otherwise. And on top of it – ITS NOT EVEN A SALAD !! All the above factors make this cuisine adored by most health freaks across the world..
Here in the UK, whenever I go out for dinner the top most choices are of course Thai and then Italian. And the first thing I order in Thai restaurants is this Mushroom Soup. It’s such a warm and tangy appetizer which soothes the throat and energise you to the core. In winters specially, I enjoy this at least once every week.. It brings such warmth to the body and prepare me for a stomach full of Thai dinner afterwards 😉
Thai Cuisine offers some amazing combos in food world one of which is Coconut milk and Lemongrass . Lemongrass is indeed actually a grass that is native to Asia, and has a citrusy flavour with distinctive hues that are simultaneously sweet and tangy. To get the most out of it, use the slightly thicker root ends and bruise them with a mallet or back of a knife, then infuse the lemongrass in whatever you are cooking. Here, I’ve infused the lemongrass in a simmering mixture of coconut milk (one of my favourite ingredients of all time) and vegetable stock to get this delicious Soup ready in no time.
Calling this soup Tom Kha Hed is a bit of a misnomer since the “kha” means galangal and I did not have any of that (“tom” means soup and “hed” means mushroom in Thai.. Yes ! I have done my bit of research !! ), but it tasted pretty darn close to anything I’ve ever had in a restaurant. The flavors are clean and bright, and it’s about as summery as a hot soup can get. You can turn this into an even more substantial meal by adding tofu. And – bonus! – it’s ready in about 20 minutes!
What you need?
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 4 cups vegetable stock – I prepared my own, recipe in Notes
- 3 pieces root end lemongrass (bottom 3-4 inches), chopped finely
- 2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 stick Butter
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tsp Red Chili flakes – optional
How to make ?
- Put the coconut milk, vegetable stock, and bruised lemongrass in a pot and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid is infused with lemongrass flavour. Strain and remove the lemongrass and keep aside
- Heat butter in a pan, add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, until just softened.
- Add in the prepared stock and simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Sprinkle some red Chili flakes on top to increase the hotness and serve immediately.
- Recipe for the Homemade vegetable stock : take 1 cup chopped assorted vegetables ( celery, potato, carrots, beans etc) and boil them in 5 cups of Water for 20-25 minutes along with 1 tsp Salt, 1 big chopped onion and 3-4 minced cloves of garlic. Strain and store
- I have not added Garlic in the soup since its already added in the vegetable stock. You may omit it from the stock and add in the soup while sautéing the mushrooms.
- I have also seen the same soup but without Coconut milk, and that gives an entirely different flavour to the dish. You may try that too, if you are fond of clear soups like me.