The problem: Insatiable appetite for vegetarian tom kha soup, coupled with a lack of proper ingredients at home.
The solution: Wing it? Uh, sure. Why not?
I absolutely love The Green Mango‘s tom kha soup with vegetables. I think it’s the best in the city, although I’m always up for trying the competition. Proximity to this soup has bumped Regent Square back into the top three neighborhoods to consider if that ever elusive “we’re buying a house” should occur.
But we live in Highland Park for now and we’re trying to be frugal and I’m trying to track what I eat, so I don’t get the soup as often as I’d like. Tonight I made CSA vegetables in the wok with mahi mahi in the cast iron skillet, but when we finished eating I decided I wasn’t yet finished cooking. I had the wok all set up, and I wanted to experiment. I was on a mission.
I started with extra firm tofu, pressed and pressed and pressed (seriously, it sat for twenty minutes under the Twilight boxed set) until it was as dry as possible, in the wok with about a drop of oil. No more. After the tofu had a chance to brown, I added some light coconut milk.
So far, so good, and not too different from a standard tom kha soup recipe. Which is good because a lot of what follows isn’t standard at all.
I collected a bunch of basil from the garden tonight when I was watering my (many but still green) tomatoes, so that went in instead of cilantro. I chopped up some CSA garlic scapes since I had no other aromatics. And I only had portabella mushrooms, so those went in, too.
You can probably tell from the picture above that this was the around the point that I first added some sriracha sauce. Lemon juice, thinly sliced carrots, broccoli and fish sauce were next, with more sriracha to taste.
The last – and most egregious – ingredient was about a half cup of skim milk to thin out the coconut milk and make the liquid more soup-like. I know, I know. Practically sacrilege.
I separated the whole batch into two containers, just like take out.
It’s no where near as good as The Green Mango, but it’s a pretty respectable faux tom kha soup. Call it tom kat, if you’d like. And this weekend I’ll pick up some cilantro (mine hasn’t come back from the last batch I harvested, sadly), galangal, lemongrass and lime juice to try this again the right way.
Nutritional information for one serving tom kat soup (1/4 of recipe, or half of the above container), approximate: 194 calories, 11 grams fat, 5.6 grams saturated fat, .4mg cholesterol, 495.3mg sodium, 8.7 grams carbohydrates, 1.9 gram fiber, 3.2 grams sugar, 12.2 grams protein.
(Yes, the sodium is high. It’s the fish sauce and the sriracha. Sorry.)