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Vegan Thai Tom Yum Soup

5 from 5 votes
A vegan version of one of my favourite Thai dishes is this Tom Yum or a Thai Hot and Sour Soup. It’s super aromatic and has a perfect balance of sour, hint of sweetness, and a little bit of spice. It’s both light and hearty, and also actually really healthy. You can make a creamy version of this Tom Yum by adding evaporated milk.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Soups, Starters
Cuisine Asian, Thai
Servings 4 people
Calories 271 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

Aromatics

  • 2 stalks lemongrass , the more tender stems near the roots
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 10 pieces kaffir lime leaves fresh or dried (see notes)
  • 4 Thai or bird’s eye chiles
  • 2-3 slices fresh galangal or ginger with pepper (see notes)

Soup

  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 small onion sliced into squares or small wedges
  • 3 small tomatoes sliced into wedges
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (see notes)
  • 7 oz straw mushrooms or other mushrooms like oyster, trumpet, or button mushrooms
  • 7 oz baby corn sliced
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar or palm sugar, adjust according to desired taste
  • 1/3 cup vegan fish sauce add 1 to 2 tbsp more to taste as needed, see homemade recipe here
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup lime juice from 2-33 limes add 1 to 2 tbsp more to for sourness, if needed
  • 12.2 fl. oz vegan evaporated coconut milk (1 can) -- or 1 cup coconut milk, if making a creamy version, see notes
  • 1 tbsp red chili sauce or paste , adjust according to desired heat (see notes)

For Serving

  • Fresh cilantro for garnish
  • More lime juice to squeeze (if desired)

For Noodle Soup

  • Thin rice noodles
  • Vegan 'fish' & 'shrimp' balls or other toppings of choice

Instructions
 

  • Crush the lemongrass to release the oil and aroma. I usually just do this by pounding on it using the dull end of a cleaver or a pestle. Slice the stalks into 3-4 inch pieces.
    Crush the garlic as well and then peel. Break apart the kaffir limes and slice the chillies.
  • For the veggies, I simply sliced the straw mushrooms in half and the baby corn into small pieces. If using oyster mushrooms, simply break these apart.
  • Heat a large pot over medium high heat. I used a dutch oven.
  • Add in the oil. Once hot, sauté the onion and tomatoes. Add in the garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chiles, galangal or ginger with pepper. Sauté the aromatics for 2 to 3 minutes over medium high heat until the onion is translucent.
  • Add in the vegetable broth to the pot.
  • Cover the pot and leave to boil over high heat. Leave for the aromatics to release their flavours.
  • Once the soup boils and is fragrant, add in the mushrooms, baby corn, tomatoes, sugar, fish sauce, and salt, to taste. Mix well and then leave to simmer of medium high heat for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms and corn cook down.
  • Mix in the lime juice, evaporated/coconut milk (if making the creamy version), and chili sauce. Mix everything together and taste the soup. Feel free to add more lime juice (for sourness), sugar (for sweetness), chili sauce (for spice) and fish sauce (for saltiness). You can also add in more salt as needed.
  • Leave the soup to cook down for another 7 to 8 minutes over medium heat for all the flavours to infuse. At this point the tomatoes will have cooked down.
  • Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass are tough and not meant to be consumed. You can remove the aromatics from the soup or simply set these aside when you come across them in your soup.
  • Serve the soup hot with more lime juice and some cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!
  • To make a tom yum noodle soup, soak thin rice noodles in boiling hot water for 7-8 minutes or until the noodles turn into a solid white colour and are chewy to your liking.
  • Once chewy to your liking, drain the noodles from the water.
  • Transfer the noodles to a bowl.
  • Pour tom yum soup over the noodles and top with some vegan 'fish' and 'shrimp' balls or other toppings of your choice (like fried beancurd). Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!
    tom yum noodle soup

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Notes

Kaffir Lime Leaves 

  • Also known as markrut lime leaves, kaffir lime leaves have a distinct citrus and sour flavour.
  • I highly recommend using fresh or frozen leaves if you have access to them. I have both fresh (that I froze) and frozen and find that freshly frozen ones have a stronger smell and flavour compared to dried. But dried ones still work well too! Make sure to crush your leaves well to release all the flavours.
  • Kaffir lime leaves are tough and not meant to be consumed. You can remove the aromatics from the soup or simply set these aside when you come across them in your soup.
 

What if I don't have galangal?

Ginger and pepper 

  • Traditional tom yum really uses of galangal, that has a milder flavour and peppery taste compared to ginger. I've made this recipe without galangal and used ginger with pepper instead sine I didn't have galangal. But if you have access to galangal, then by all means, that'd be the best!
  • You can also try bottled crushed galangal to use. These bottles store well in the refrigerator and are ready to use.
 

Evaporated Milk/Coconut Milk

  • Creamy Tom Yum is traditionally made with evaporated milk and coconut milk is used for Tom Kha (Thai coconut soup).
  • I use a vegan evaporate coconut milk but I find that coconut milk works just as well as long as you don't mind the coconut-y flavour.
  • I also recommend to start with 1 cup coconut milk instead of the whole can and adjust from there.
 

Red Chili Paste or Sauce

NUTRITIONAL INFO

Serving: 1serving (tom yum only) | Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1483mg | Potassium: 662mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1492IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 3mg
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