Vegan Tom Kha Soup

September 27, 2016

I know I make a lot of soups, but that’s just because they’re so good. And really, is there anything better when the weather is bad (which it often is)?

This soup is a very spicy Thai style soup chock full of crunchy veggies, exotic mushrooms, soft tofu and slurpy rice noodles. It also has a real kick of spice to clear the senses (totally optional for those with heat sensitivities!).

As a vegan, you know how difficult it is to find Thai food that is suitable for vegans. Even “vegetarian” dishes often use fish sauce in the broth or paste, whether it’s for a curry, noodle dish or soup. I can understand why – fish sauce certainly adds another dimension to a dish which is difficult to replicate. Luckily, there are some options out there for us. I recently discovered “vegetarian umami paste” which can be picked up from Sainsburys in the specialty aisle. It replaces the fish sauce, and adds a little something extra to the tom kha paste. Of course if you’d rather leave it out, you can always just sub in a little extra tamari or soy sauce.

What is great about this soup is that you can use any vegetables you please. I like to use a mix of stir fry veggies with loads of exotic mushrooms, but you could simply do broccoli and chestnut mushrooms if that’s what you felt like. The broth lends itself really well to all types of veggies.


For the paste 

  • 2 inches ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 stick lemongrass, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium green chili, roughly chopped (remove seeds if you don’t like heat!)
  • small handful coriander
  • 6 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 limes, zest only
  • ½ tsp salt

For the soup

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 liter veg stock
  • 350g mixed vegetables, chopped
  • 200g exotic mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pack firm tofu, cut in small cubes
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1-2 limes, juice only
  • 2 tbsp umami paste (or 1 tbsp extra of soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 300g cooked rice noodles

To serve

  • small handful thai basil (or normal basil)
  • coriander
  • sliced red chilies
  • lime wedges


  1. In a small blender, add all the ingredients for the past along with 4 tablespoons of water and blend well until you have a smooth paste.
  2. Add the shallots to a pan with the oil over medium heat and fry for around one minute. Then add the paste and fry for 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  3. pour in stock, umami, soy sauce, vegetables and tofu. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and lime juice along with the cooked noodles, and simmer another 2-3 min to heat through.
  5. Remove from the heat and serve with basil, coriander, chilli and extra lime wedges.
  6. Enjoy!