Pumpkin Tom Kha (Coconut Lemongrass Soup)

This soup is inspired by the Lao Pumpkin and Coconut Tom Kha at my favorite local restaurant, Pho Lena, in Anchorage. It’s basically Tom Kha Gai without the chicken and with pumpkin instead. I add tofu for a protein boost! In Alaska, it can be difficult to find some of the very specific ingredients for Tom Kha so I’ve included commonplace substitutions. I have to use ginger, lime rind, and canned mushrooms because galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and straw mushrooms aren’t accessible. Still, the soup is absolutely divine!

Produce On Parade- Pumpkin Tom Kha (Coconut Lemongrass Soup) - This soup is inspired by the Lao Pumpkin and Coconut Tom Kha at my favorite local restaurant, Pho Lena, in Anchorage. It’s basically Tom Kha Gai without the chicken and with pumpkin instead. I add tofu for a protein boost! In Alaska, it can be difficult to find some of the very specific ingredients for Tom Kha so I’ve included commonplace substitutions. I have to use ginger, lime rind, and canned mushrooms because galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and straw mushrooms aren’t accessible. Still, the soup is absolutely divine!

I'm almost scared to post this recipe, but I have to because it's one of my very favorite soups and I'm not ignorant to the fact that many folks aren't able to source authentic, specialty ingredients; especially those of us in rural areas (and especially in Alaska).

Does this mean we can't or shouldn't try to replicate our favorite ethnic dishes? I don't think so. In no way am I claiming this Tom Kha to be authentic, however, I think it's a pretty darn good replication with ingredients one can get at any local grocery store. It's my hope that you enjoy it as much as I do and if you're able to find galangal, straw mushrooms, and kaffir lime leaves... um...send me some in the mail, please. Pretty please?

Produce On Parade- Pumpkin Tom Kha (Coconut Lemongrass Soup) - This soup is inspired by the Lao Pumpkin and Coconut Tom Kha at my favorite local restaurant, Pho Lena, in Anchorage. It’s basically Tom Kha Gai without the chicken and with pumpkin instead. I add tofu for a protein boost! In Alaska, it can be difficult to find some of the very specific ingredients for Tom Kha so I’ve included commonplace substitutions. I have to use ginger, lime rind, and canned mushrooms because galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and straw mushrooms aren’t accessible. Still, the soup is absolutely divine!

It's my great joy to share this recipe with all of you small-town kids who struggle with making pretty much anything 'authentic'. I refuse to be constrained to tofu noodle soup because my store doesn't care bird's eye chilis. Who's with me!?

Produce On Parade- Pumpkin Tom Kha (Coconut Lemongrass Soup) - This soup is inspired by the Lao Pumpkin and Coconut Tom Kha at my favorite local restaurant, Pho Lena, in Anchorage. It’s basically Tom Kha Gai without the chicken and with pumpkin instead. I add tofu for a protein boost! In Alaska, it can be difficult to find some of the very specific ingredients for Tom Kha so I’ve included commonplace substitutions. I have to use ginger, lime rind, and canned mushrooms because galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and straw mushrooms aren’t accessible. Still, the soup is absolutely divine!

Pumpkin Tom Kha (Coconut Lemongrass Soup)

Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

Published 10/28/2016

This soup is inspired by the Lao Pumpkin and Coconut Tom Kha at my favorite local restaurant, Pho Lena, in Anchorage. It’s basically Tom Kha Gai without the chicken and with pumpkin instead. I add tofu for a protein boost! In Alaska, it can be difficult to find some of the very specific ingredients for Tom Kha so I’ve included commonplace substitutions. I have to use ginger, lime rind, and canned mushrooms because galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and straw mushrooms aren’t accessible. Still, the soup is absolutely divine!

Ingredients

  • 1 small pumpkin or delicata squash (2 cups cubed)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 oz can of full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 stick of fresh lemongrass
  • 1 1-inch piece of galangal or ginger, peeled and micrograted
  • dash of crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves or 1 1-inch piece of lime rind
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (optional)
  • ½ lb fresh straw mushrooms or 1 8oz can of sliced mushrooms, drained
  • ½ of a 14 oz block of firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 limes, juiced (¼ cup juice)
  • 3 tbsp vegan fish sauce or 1 tbsp soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Deseed the pumpkin and cut off the ends. Slice into wedges and steam for 15-20 minutes until just tender. Set aside to cool. Slice off the skin (leave skin on if using delicata) and cube.
  2. In a large soup pot, bring the vegetable broth and coconut milk to a gentle boil over medium high heat then reduce to a very low simmer.
  3. Slice the lemongrass in half lengthwise and bruise with the back of a measuring cup. Add the lemongrass, galangal, crushed red pepper, lime leaves, and brown sugar to the pot and stir; simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and tofu, simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and basil. Remove from heat. Serve hot and topped with cilantro.

Yield: 4

Produce On Parade- Pumpkin Tom Kha (Coconut Lemongrass Soup) - This soup is inspired by the Lao Pumpkin and Coconut Tom Kha at my favorite local restaurant, Pho Lena, in Anchorage. It’s basically Tom Kha Gai without the chicken and with pumpkin instead. I add tofu for a protein boost! In Alaska, it can be difficult to find some of the very specific ingredients for Tom Kha so I’ve included commonplace substitutions. I have to use ginger, lime rind, and canned mushrooms because galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and straw mushrooms aren’t accessible. Still, the soup is absolutely divine!

Thai Coconut Curry with Kelp Noodles

This is a unique dish. Crunchy and creamy, it's Thai-ishly delicious! It has all the ingredients for a darn good Thai dinner. Coconut milk, lemongrass, basil, cilantro, red curry, lime juice, and mungbeans. The gang's all here! Produce on Parade: Thai Coconut Curry with Kelp Noodles

I wouldn't call kelp noodles a staple in our house. They're pretty spendy up here in The Last Frontier. These little translucent strands of goodness are chewy and almost crunchy if not soaked prior to use. They take on pretty much any flavor, like tofu would, and alone are completely flavorless. You know those tofu shirataki noodles, the ones that smell all rotten fishy? Ick. Not the kelp noodles, nope. Surprisingly enough though...you'd think if either one would smell it would definitely be the kelp noodles, but they don't. Yay!

Produce on Parade: Thai Coconut Curry with Kelp Noodles

When I do splurge on them, I like to make something fun. Something bold, and something super delicious. Enter, Thai Coconut Curry with Kelp Noodles. I like to top mine with pan fried tempeh, fresh mung beans, and chopped cilantro, but you can top yours with whatever you want! This recipe has all the ingredients for a darn good Thai-a-licious dinner. Coconut milk, lemongrass, basil, cilantro, red curry, lime juice, mung beans...yum! All that's missing is the fish sauce, but since we're vegan, we won't be missing it.

Produce on Parade: Thai Coconut Curry with Kelp Noodles

Inspired by The Spunky Coconut

Serves 2

Thai Coconut Curry with Kelp Noodles

  • For the Noodles
  • 12 oz. package of kelp noodles
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • For the Sauce
  • 1/2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (shake it up real good first, store the remainder in fridge for smoothies!)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 Tbsp. red curry paste
  • 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. erythritol or sugar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lemongrass paste or chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chopped basil leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. chili powder
  • small sprinkle of chipotle chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • For the Topping
  • half a block of chopped tempeh
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup mung beans
  • cilantro for garnishing

Rinse those kelp noodles and give them a good drain. Place them in a medium size bowl and bathe them in lukewarm water. Add the lime juice and massage them for a couple minutes. A bath and a massage...dang, I wanna be a kelp noodle! Let them soak for 20 minutes or so while preparing the sauce. If lime juice won't volunteer itself, go ahead and use lemon juice instead. What a rude lime. Don't omit the juice though, as the acid is important to help the noodles relax a little bit. And don't forget to massage a bit...spoil those little kelp noodles!

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Add all the sauce ingredients into a small saucepan and whisk to combine, over low heat. Don't allow it bubble.

Slice the tempeh into small, thin bricks about the length of a thumb. Pour about 1 Tbsp. of prepared sauce into small frying pan along with coconut oil. Saute until tempeh is starts browning, about 5-10 minutes.

Now that those pampered kelp noodles have had their day in the sun, drain them well and add the sauce to the bowl in which they were soaking and mix them up! Divide the sauced kelp into two bowls (or one if you're feeling especially ravenous), and top with the cooked tempeh, mung beans and chopped cilantro. Roasted garlic crunchies or some siracha would also be a great addition. The longer the curry sits, the better it gets, so go ahead and put it in a timeout if you want.