There is a famous Vegan Thai restaurant in Seattle and LA called Araya's Place. They have a delicious and popular soup there called Tom Yum. They also have Tom Kah soup, and I really think this recipe is more like that one because it has the coconut milk in it. But whatever you call it, it is delicious. It is a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, a little bit tangy, and a lot delicious. And bonus- it's very healthy! And that's whether you choose to make it with chicken or without.
Thai Tom Yum Soup
1 Quart Chicken stock (vegetable stock if you want it be vegan)
1 can coconut milk
1 stalk lemon grass (found with herbs in the produce section)
5-6 kafir lime leaves (not easily found. You can substitute the zest of 1 lime)
4 cups mushrooms, sliced or quartered ( I used cremini mushrooms)
*2-3 cups chopped, cooked chicken ( I used rotisserie chicken breast) Obviously, eliminate if you want it to be vegan. Tofu may be substituted.
4 Tablespoons lemon or lime juice, fresh if possible
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons fish sauce OR soy sauce (fish sauce has a kind of nasty smell, so I prefer to add soy sauce)
4 fresh Thai chilis or 2 Tablespoons chili paste or 1/2 - 2 Tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes - this is your hot factor and should vary to taste
1/2 cup or so chopped cilantro
Put the stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Crush the lemon grass with a mallet and put a piece of string around it.
When the stock boils, put in the lemon grass, lime leaves or zest, mushrooms and chicken or tofu. Let it come back to a boil and then let it simmer for 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, fish or soy sauce, coconut milk, and chili or pepper flakes. Heat through. Serve in bowls and garnish with cilantro.
*You can use tofu instead of chicken.