Jess made this gorgeous thai coconut soup, it has a lot of ingredients, some of them harder to find, but it is definately worth it!
The distinctive taste of this soup comes from galangal root, which is a relative of ginger but doesnt really have the fiery heat of ginger. Finding lemongrass is pretty easy, but as with the galangal, youll have to go to a Asian supermarket for the kaffir lime leaves – if your in Manchester then WH Lung is a good place for both the spices and cheap tofu. If you cant find the lime leaves then you could substitute lime zest and a bit of lime juice but the flavour won’t be as complex.
Ingredients for broth: 1 can coconut milk, 2-3 cups vegetable stock (or bullion powder and water), pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 2 stalks fresh lemongrass (take off the outer layer, chop into inch long pieces and bash a bit to release the flavour – if you are using dried lemongrass add some extra lime juice and zest), 5 shallots, 4 cloves garlic (crushed), half a teaspoon of coriander seed, handful of coriander leaves (chopped fine – plus more to garnish), 3 spring onions fine chopped, 2 chilli peppers (halved down the middle), 1.5 inch chunk of galanga root (sliced very thinly), 3 kaffir lime leaves, a splash of sweet chilli sauce (to taste), juice of half a lime to finish.
1 cup sliced mushrooms, 300g sliced firm tofu (pre-fried till slightly brown), and then one or more of the following: 1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved), 1 cup sliced baby corn, 1 cup sliced red pepper, 1/2 water chestnuts, noodles, etc.
Finely chop the shallots and fry with the crushed garlic for a minute or so before adding the galanga, chilli, lime leaves, coriander seed, and lemongrass. Fry for a couple more minutes, add the sugar, sweet chilli sauce, stock and coconut milk, followed by the coriander leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 15mins. Some people would then strain the broth, but I think it is better without, so long as the shallots are chopped fine and you dont mind picking out bits of leaf and lemongrass.
Add the tofu, and whichever other additions your making and simmer for another 5 to 10 mins. Add chopped spring onions and chopped coriander leaves, some leftover finely chopped tomatoes and some freshly squeezed lime juice directly before serving.