A twist on Tom Ka Gai

I wanted to make a version of tom ka gai (Thai chicken and coconut soup with lime) that was vegetarian and included noodles.  I used some things I found in my pantry and put together this soup.  The lime juice stirred in at the last minute is what makes this soup so amazing.  If you prefer hotter foods, feel free to add more chiles!

3 or 4 pieces dried galangal (or 3 or 4 slices of fresh galangal, if available)
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1″ lengths
4 chiles de arbol, stems and seeds removed
1/2 tsp sugar
3 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth is fine too, if you aren’t making this vegetarian)
8 oz nigari tofu, cut into 1″ strips
1 16 oz can lite coconut milk
juice of 2 large limes
6-8 oz dried rice sticks
Fresh cilantro for garnish

In a large saucepan, boil the galangal in 1 1/2 cups water for about 10 minutes. (Skip this step if you are using fresh)
Stir in the broth, chiles, lemongrass and sugar and simmer while you prepare the tofu.
Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium high heat and add half the tofu.  Stir fry for several minutes, until golden brown. 
Set aside and repeat with the other half of the tofu.
Stir the tofu, rice sticks, and coconut milk and cover, simmering until the noodles are soft.
Taste and season as needed with salt.
Using tongs (to help with the noodles) and a ladle, distribute the soup (avoiding the galangal) into 4 bowls.  Stir in about a tablespoon of lime juice, garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

5 Responses to “A twist on Tom Ka Gai”

  1. 1 Joelen August 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    This is such a great soup and the recipe looks good!

  2. 2 That Girl August 8, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I think you probably can guess my feelings on this given my recent profession of love for Thai food!

  3. 3 Mom August 28, 2008 at 3:33 am

    This was a big hit at dinner tonight–but I went really light on the peppers.

  4. 4 me April 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    “Gai” is Thai for “chicken.” You should probably not call this soup “Tom Ka Gai” if there’s no chicken in it.

    • 5 Cate April 11, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Yep, you’re right. That’s why I said it was a twist on tom ka gai, not tom ka gai itself. But I guess tom ka tofu would be more accurate!

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