I wanted to make a version of tom ka gai (Thai chicken and coconut soup with lime) that was vegetarian and included noodles. I used some things I found in my pantry and put together this soup. The lime juice stirred in at the last minute is what makes this soup so amazing. If you prefer hotter foods, feel free to add more chiles!
3 or 4 pieces dried galangal (or 3 or 4 slices of fresh galangal, if available)
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1″ lengths
4 chiles de arbol, stems and seeds removed
1/2 tsp sugar
3 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth is fine too, if you aren’t making this vegetarian)
8 oz nigari tofu, cut into 1″ strips
1 16 oz can lite coconut milk
juice of 2 large limes
6-8 oz dried rice sticks
Fresh cilantro for garnish
In a large saucepan, boil the galangal in 1 1/2 cups water for about 10 minutes. (Skip this step if you are using fresh)
Stir in the broth, chiles, lemongrass and sugar and simmer while you prepare the tofu.
Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium high heat and add half the tofu. Stir fry for several minutes, until golden brown.
Set aside and repeat with the other half of the tofu.
Stir the tofu, rice sticks, and coconut milk and cover, simmering until the noodles are soft.
Taste and season as needed with salt.
Using tongs (to help with the noodles) and a ladle, distribute the soup (avoiding the galangal) into 4 bowls. Stir in about a tablespoon of lime juice, garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.