If you like sweet and sour things, you'll probably like this soup. You can use any veggies you like, I usually throw in whatever I have around. The seasoned rice vinegar adds a lot of the sweetness, so if you use regular vinegar, you'll have to increase the agave syrup.
Note: The soup usually turns out a bit lighter in color, but the seasoned vinegar I used for this batch was a rice/balsamic vinegar blend, which is dark like balsamic vinegar.
Thai-inspired Sweet and Sour Soup
(Serves 6 generously)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
6 inches worth of lemon grass stalk, bashed to release flavor
2 kefir lime leaves
1 teaspoon of red chili flakes (or more to taste)
1 large shallot, diced fine
3 large garlic cloves, minced
6 cups unsalted veggie broth
1 cup tomato puree
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon agave
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
14 oz. firm tofu, pressed to remove extra moisture
1/2 cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 lb mushrooms ( I used shitake and crimini)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1 cup green onion, chopped
cilantro & lime to garnish
For the tofu:
You can toss the tofu directly into the soup raw if you want, but I like to bake mine a little first to give it crunch and extra firmness. First, I press it by setting it in a colander, placing a plate over the top and setting some heavy cans on top of the plate. I let it sit that way for about 20-30 minutes. Then, I cut it into 1-inch thick slices, brush it with of sesame oil and let it bake at 375 F for about 20 minutes or so, turning it halfway through. When finished, I cut the tofu into chunks and set aside to toss into the soup later on.
For the soup:
In a large soup pot, add the coconut oil and aromatize the lemon grass, kefir lime, and chili over medium heat for a minute or so. Add the garlic and shallots and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Add the veggie broth and the tomato puree. Let the broth come to a simmer, let it simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors of the herbs to infuse into the broth. Add the tamari, tamarind, agave, and rice vinegar and stir well to incorporate. About 5-10 minutes before serving, toss in the veggies and tofu. If you use sprouts and green onions, don't add them into the soup pot, but rather put some in the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup over. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.
We like to eat this soup with rice by taking a big spoon of rice and dipping it into the broth. Yum!