I’ve visited Thailand a few years ago. While there, I became a huge fan of spicy peanut soup. Last week, when I spotted a good quality peanut butter in the grocery store, I just HAD to make a soup with it!
A “good quality” peanut butter is one that is made with peanuts only. It shouldn’t contain any added sugars, palm oil or other additives.
With a soup like this one, I prefer to use homemade vegetable bouillon (or broth) from stock that I normally make in advance and keep stored in my freezer.
Should you want to make the bouillon, you can find the recipe here. The next best thing is a good quality low sodium store-bought kind made with minimal ingredients, such as carrots, celery, onion and a few basic herbs.
This peanut-based soup with shiitake mushrooms, carrots and silken tofu is flavourful, aromatic and creamy. One bowl with noodles is a complete meal rich in plant protein, vitamins and antioxidants. The lemon grass, red curry paste, herbs, spices, coconut milk, lime juice and zest give the soup an authentic Thai flavour.
P.S: Should you want to replace some ingredients with more authentic Thai foods & spices (e.g. kaffir leaf, kaffir lime, galangal root) check out my green curry paste recipe where I outline the substitutes in the ingredients section.
Spicy Thai peanut soup
Makes 4 large servings
- 300 grams soft or silken tofu (can sub. with grilled chicken slices)
- ½-1 teaspoon (tsp) garlic powder
- 5 cups homemade vegetable bouillon (or broth)* or a low sodium store-bought kind or bouillon cubes + water
- ¼ cup lime juice + ½ tsp lime zest
- 1/3 cup natural peanut butter, no additives
- 2 tablespoons (tbsp) vegetable oil
- 2-3 green onions or scallions, chopped fine
- 1-inch or thumbsize ginger root, grated
- 2 lemon grass stalks, chopped in big chunks
- 2-4 tbsps of water (to prevent sticking)
- 2 tbsps red curry paste
- 2 tbsps soya sauce, low sodium & naturally brewed
- 1-1½ cups whole shiitake mushrooms (large ones sliced – add more if you love mushrooms!)
- 1-1½ cups carrots, thinly sliced
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1-2 tbsps maple syrup, to taste (option)
- A few pinches of sea salt
- Noodles of choice, cooked (e.g. rice or ramen)
- Garnish: roasted peanuts, fresh chives or coriander
* Note: To make 5 cups of homemade veggie bouillon, dilute the stock in an equal amount of water (e.g. 2½ cups stock + 2½ cups water).
Rinse, pat dry and place the tofu on a flat dish. Slice it into cubes (be gentle not to break the tofu). Sprinkle the cubes with garlic powder and place in the refrigerator.
In a big bowl, hand whisk the vegetable bouillon, lime juice, lime zest and peanut butter. Set aside.
In a big soup pot, heat up the vegetable oil. Lower the heat and add the green onions, ginger and lemon grass and sauté for 2 minutes. Add a bit (1-2 tbsps) of water to prevent sticking. Stir in the red curry paste and soya sauce and cook for 1 minute.
Add the carrots and mushrooms, adjust the heat to medium-low and cook these for 5-6 minutes with a lid on, mixing occasionally. Add a bit (1-2 tbsps) of water to prevent sticking.
Add the coconut milk, bay leaves, thyme and stir. Add the vegetable broth mixture with the lime juice, zest and peanut butter. Stir this in well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles separately and according to package instructions.
Test taste the soup broth to check if it needs a little sweetness. Adjust with 1 or 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Add salt.
Drain and rinse the cooked noodles and transfer them into a separate serving bowl or platter. If noodles are too long, use kitchen scissors to shorten them.
Serve the soup immediately in bowls. Allow guests to add their own noodles to their portions.
Garnish with roasted peanuts and/or fresh chives or coriander.
Store leftover soup and noodles separately in covered containers in the fridge for an extra day.