This refreshing Thai lemongrass soup is made with a light gingery broth, pan-fried tofu, cherry tomatoes and fresh cilantro.
Alissa's note: I originally published this one back in December of 2014, and just updated the photos and recipe. That should explain why the paragraph below doesn't quite make sense given the time of year. It also explains why the soup is actually perfect for August, which is why I decided to keep it. :)
After I made this the other day I realized I wasn't sure of it's appropriateness for this time of year. This might sound like a weird thing to say about soup, but it's rather summery. Yeah, I know lots of people aren't big on a hot bowl of spicy broth in the warmer months, but in this case I think the tomatoes, lime and cilantro make this a soup of the more refreshing variety.
Because I have a hard time hanging onto post material for more than a month without unleashing it on the world, I decided to let this one out anyway. Also, it does seem like something light and refreshing might be desirable in the near future.
Okay, I'm still pounding the bag of Christmas cookies my mom sent me home with last week, but those will soon be gone (I'm hoping they go off to work with my husband, and not into my belly, but time will tell). I'm betting by Friday we'll all be ready for some healthiness.
This lemongrass soup is refreshing and healthy, but what's great is that it's also hot and comforting, and if you choose, spicy as well.
I will probably make this again in the summer just to test out my theory (<-- I did and it worked!!). Okay, I'll probably make this again next week. It was really enjoyable, even on a rainy December evening, and it only took 25 minutes to throw together. So, I kind of have to make it again, you know, when I'm over Christmas cookies and all. I love it when my New Year's resolutions pretty much take care of themselves like that.
FAQ & Tips for Making Amazing Thai Lemongrass Soup
- Where can I find fresh lemongrass? Sometimes I get lucky and find it at the regular supermarket, usually near the fresh herbs. Otherwise, try a produce market or Asian market.
- For tips on how to brown your tofu perfectly, see this post.
- Not into tofu? Leave it out and substitute extra mushrooms, tomatoes, or another veggie of your choosing.
- Can this recipe be made gluten-free? Yes! Just use gluten-free tamari.
Thai Lemongrass Soup
- 2 (4 to 6 inch) lemongrass stalks
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek, or to taste
- 2 cups stemmed and sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 7 ounces extra firm tofu, drained and pressed for at least 15 minutes
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilanto
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Soy sauce or tamari, to taste
Bruise the lemongrass stalks by pressing on them with a large knife, until they flatten a bit. Cut each stalk into 4 sections. Set aside.
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the broth, lemongrass, chili paste, shiitakes and cherry tomatoes. Bring everything to a low simmer and allow to cook about 12-15 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
While broth simmers, cut the tofu into ½ inch cubes. Coat a medium skillet with remaining 1 teaspoon of oil and place it over medium-high heat. Arrange the tofu cubes in a single layer. Cook about 5 minutes, until lightly browned on bottoms, turn and cook another 5 minutes.
Add the tofu to broth mixture, along with cilantro and lime juice, then give everything a stir. Season with soy sauce to taste. Remove the lemongrass pieces and discard. Ladle the into bowls and serve.
For additional guidance on the tofu cooking step, check out my post on how to cook tofu.