Mmmmm, Thai food.
So good, so healthy, and more often than not, so easy. The only problem for me is the ubiquitous use of chicken broth, fish sauce and other animal based foods with which Thai cooks impart their traditional flavors.
Fortunately for me (and you), there’s a little thing called the internet, where vegan solutions to vegan problems can be deduced like never before. After years of avoiding my favorite Thai soups, or making sub-par versions of them, I have finally found a worthy vegan version of fish sauce (aka nam pla)—Thai foods most critical secret ingredient—from The Chubby Vegetarian.
Armed with this, some good rich vegetable broth, and a few blocks of tofu, no Thai soup is off the menu.
To make the fish sauce (nam pla), you will need:
1 quart water
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1.76-ounce package Emerald Cove Kombu (rinsed briefly under cold water)
1 1/4 cups dried shiitake
1/2 cup soy sauce (like Bragg’s)
1 tablespoon cane sugar (like Whole Foods 365 brand)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lime
In a medium pot over high heat, bring the water, garlic, red pepper flakes, kombu, shiitake, soy sauce, sugar, salt, peppercorns, ginger, vinegar, lemon juice, and lime juice up to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Allow mixture to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, strain, and return liquid to the pot. Reduce mixture to one pint. Allow mixture to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to six weeks.
For the Tom Kha Gai you will need:
1 can coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
6 quarter sized slices of fresh ginger
1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 block extra firm tofu, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup sliced mushrooms, any kind (straw is traditional)
juice of one lime
1 tbl vegan “fish” sauce
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp Thai chili paste
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, broth, ginger and lemongrass and bring to boil over high heat. Add tofu, mushrooms, lime juice, “fish” sauce, sugar and chili paste. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Discard lemongrass and ginger. Garnish servings with basil and cilantro.
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Editor: Travis May