Tom Yum is a hot and sour Thai soup traditionally made with shrimp paste and fish sauce. This vegan version creates an equally delicious soup using kombu, shiitake and fresh aromatics to create depth of flavour.
For the stock:
- 4 cups water
- 1 piece of kombu (dried seaweed)
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and gently crushed
For the soup:
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 250g mushrooms, quartered (any mushrooms will do)
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- 4 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
- 2 lemongrass stalks
- 6 Thai red chillies, halved
- 5 cm piece of ginger, peeled
- 8 Thai lime leaves
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Juice of one lime
- fresh coriander, to serve
- First, make the stock. Place the water, kombu, shiitake and garlic in a pot and bring to the boil.
- When the water starts to boil, remove the kombu.
- Turn down the heat and let the stock simmer while you prepare the soup base (about 15 minutes)
- In the meantime, trim the lemongrass stalks and cut them in half. Using a mallet or mortar and pestle, bruise the lemongrass to release their fragrant oils.
- Similarly, cut the peeled ginger into rounds and gently bruise.
- In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the shallots, mushrooms and tomato and sauté until the tomatoes start to break down.
- Add the lemongrass, ginger and chillies to the pot.
- Massage the lime leaves before adding to the pot.
- Remove the garlic and shiitake from the stock. Pour the stock into the soup mixture and bring to the boil.
- Turn down the heat and let simmer for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove the lemongrass stalks and any other large pieces.
- Stir in the soy sauce and lime juice, and garnish with fresh coriander.
TIP: For a richer, creamier soup, add a few tablespoons of coconut milk.
Nikita is a food writer, stylist & recipe developer based in Johannesburg.
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