Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup (Tom Yum Je Nam Khon)

Vegetarian Thai Recipe for Tom Yum Soup with Roasted Chili Paste

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup

Thailand "lacks a strong indigenous vegetarian tradition" notes Nancie McDermott in Real Vegetarian Thai, and cookbook author Vatcharin concedes, yet there are many modern Thais that practice vegetarianism today and the number is growing. In the last 30 years, vegetarianism in Thailand has become more widespread, because of an increased interest in a sect of Thai Buddhism, which reveres Kwan Yim, the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, according to the cookbook Thai Vegetarian Cooking.

Cooks have struggled with cooking a vegan Thai meal when just about every Thai dish adds the essential Thai ingredient, fish sauce (nam pla). Truly this is the single most important flavoring for authentic Thai. This makes it especially tricky to recreate the flavor balance of the classic Tom Yum Soup, which is usually finished with a good dose of fish sauce to achieve a satisfying umami flavor.

This recipe for Tom Yum Soup solves that problem by employing soy sauce balanced with Thai roasted chili paste, coconut milk, lime and the essential fresh Thai herbs (galangal, chilies and lemongrass) used for cooking Tom Yum. Thus a savory flavor is created without the addition of meat or seafood. Fortified with a mixture of seasonal vegetables, a full palate of flavors and satisfying textures is achieved without sacrificing the goal of remaining a vegetarian dish.



  1. In a wok, boil 1 1/2 cups of water per serving. Add the Thai herbs: galangal, kaffir leaves and lemon grass stalks, as well as vegetables and tofu.
  2. While boiling, add soy sauce and sugar. When the vegetables are tender but before the water has evaporated, turn off the heat.
  3. To finish, top with spring onion and coriander, lime juice, May Kaidee's Tom Yam Chili paste and coconut cream.

Serves 2.

*Soy Sauce Mixture - May's special blend used throughout her cookbook. Simply mix equal portions of Thai light and dark soy sauce. This may be kept at hand in a bottle for quick cooking.

Cook's Notes: Add our Tom Yum Soup Set to your online shopping cart to quickly acquire all the necessary Thai herbs to make this delicious Tom Yum Soup. Also see our other Tom Yum Soup recipes in our Home-style Thai Recipes index.

Recipe Copyright © 2007 Thai Vegetarian & Vegan Cookbook Sommay Jaijong, May Kai Dee; Image 04-12-11 © sevkovichnya/

Thai Vegetarian & Vegan Cookbook

Thai Vegetarian & Vegan Cookbook

This recipe is from the Thai Vegetarian & Vegan Cookbook from the May Kai Dee Vegetarian Cookery School, Bangkok. See more Thai Cookbooks in our store.

Vegetarian Tom Yum PasteShort on time? Try our Vegetarian Tom Yum Paste

With this ready-made vegetarian Tom Yum Paste you can skip the extra step of making your own nam prik pao.

See more Thai Vegetarian Recipes:

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