Thai Coconut Soup

I hope you all had a really lovely Christmas, with lots of good food, laughter and a little too much sugar.
I spent Christmas at my parents’ house with my brothers and sister, my parents and grandmother, and every year we have a pretty calm and peaceful evening together. I meant to come back online to wish you all a Merry Christmas, but then I found myself off the net for the most part of the last few days.
I did some cooking, too. I prepared the nut loaf on Sunday, still in my kitchen, and while it smelled really lovely here, I was not that happy with it after reheating. The recipe still needs some tweaking before I feel good about sharing it with you. I expect a lot from my vegetarian meat loaf, and right now I am not confident that everyone at your table would be that excited about it.
The cauliflower cake did turn out really well, though. It may be seen around here later in the year (because right now I dont have any pictures, to tell the truth. I was not only disconnected from the net, I also did not bring a camera). How was your Christmas? Did you do any cooking?
I returned to my home yesterday, with little motivation to cook, or eat. Like last year around this time, I crave lighter meals. Last year I made this gingery noodle soup, a perfect remedy for after the days, and weeks before them, of feasting on everything heavy and sweet.

Soup sounded fitting today, but I really wanted to try something different after making a variation of the noodle soup quite a few times over the course of the year. Leaving through my cookbooks I settled on a vegetarian version of Tom Kha Gai, the Thai soup usually featuring chicken. A light coconutty broth sounded just about right to tie together lighter eating and the sweet delights served at Christmas.

Thai Coconut Soup
Note: I used a combination of beans and eggplants here, and you can see fresh green pepper in the pictures above. Use whatever vegetables you can find or have on hand, though)

500ml coconut milk
thumb sized piece of galangal, or ginger if you can’t find galangal, sliced
4 dried kaffir lime leaves, or 2 2-inch strips lime rind
2 lemongrass stalks, remove the outer leaves and cut into thirds
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups water
2 handful green beans
2-3 Thai eggplants, cut into wedges
8 ounces firm tofu, cubed, or seitan, or vegetarian chickn substitute
1-2 Thai peppers, sliced thin
1 scallion, green and white part, thinly sliced
1 can straw mushrooms
juice of 1/2 lime
fresh cilantro, as much as you want
1 teaspoon salt

In a large pot combine the coconut milk, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass stalks, garlic cloves and water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the beans and eggplant, your protein of choice, the peppers, the sliced scallion, the straw mushrooms and the lime juice. Cook for another 5 minutes, serve with the chopped cilantro. (I usually do not stir the cilantro in before serving, because I like to reheat the soup and the cilantro does not take that well.)

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