Spicy Thai Soup with Tofu


Spicy Thai Soup

There is very little I find more comforting than a hot bowl of soup, especially when that bowl of soup is spicy enough to induce an evening of dyspepsia and acute gastritis.

Ok, this soup isn’t that spicy, but it should leave you with at least a mild case of belly burn (a sensation I find to be incredibly satisfying). Such is true for most Thai food, which is why food from the southeast region of Asia is among my favourite.

Visiting Thailand during my Tour de Southeast Asia in 2011 was a very conflicting experience. I was tempted by exotic, fiery street food at every turn that wreaked absolute havoc on my digestive system. But I was in delicious Thailand! What was I to do? (Stuff myself full of the delectable local fare and pay the consequences later, of course.)

This soup is definitely reminiscent of soups typically consumed in Thailand, but is much less likely to cause a peptic ulcer.

It is also a very versatile soup in terms of the ingredients you can use. My plan was to include sauteed mushrooms, because I love me some fungi and put them in almost everything I cook. A thorough search through my refrigerator yielded no mushrooms, so after a good, hard cry I decided to substitute celery.

And the celery was good! It gave the soup some crunch, which I really liked.

This soup also calls for jalapenos, which I forgot to include until after I had taken a photo. I planned to retake the photo the next morning, but in a state of post-slumber haze decided the original picture would suffice. So just pretend there are vibrant rings of jalapenos nestled against the chunks of tofu and sliced onions.

This spicy Thai soup recipe is incredibly tasty, and vegan! (You could deveganize this recipe by adding 2 1/2 pounds or so of chicken instead of tofu, which I bet is really tasty, but I am partial to coagulated bean curd.)


Ingredients ☑ Vegan

  • 3 stalks lemongrass, bulbs thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 2″ piece of fresh ginger root, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 package of tofu, drained and sliced into 1″ cubes
  • 12 oz mushrooms or 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp Thai red curry paste
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings


  1. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a pan and add tofu cubes. Fry until all sides are golden and crispy. Set aside.
  2. Stir lemongrass, garlic, and ginger together in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.
  3. Strain chicken broth and set aside. Discard lemongrass, garlic, and ginger.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add celery or mushrooms and cook 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in curry paste, fish sauce, and lime juice until just combined. Add vegetable broth and coconut milk. Return to a summer and cook on low for 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Skim off any excess oil that rises to the top and discard.
  7. Add red onion and stir until softened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and garnish with jalapeno slices.

One thought on “Spicy Thai Soup with Tofu

  1. This recipe looks fantastic, and it is duely noted for the next time I have a chance. When my bro was five years old or so and sick and fussy, we stopped by a Thai place and he had Tom Ka Gai which perked him right up. It might have been coincidence, but you are right about how these soups make one feel so warm and cozy.

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