Two years ago I was in Bangkok, travelling back from Laos (where I’d be gatecrashing my sister’s honeymoon, as you do..). I stopped for a few days to do some cooking, and eating on my way home. Not as much eating went on as I’d like though as my appetite was hampered by a slight illness!
However, by the last day I’d met up with a friend for a drink, and definitely had my appetite and hunger back by the evening. So on my way back to the apartment I stopped for what feels like the best noodle soup of my life.
Maybe because I was so hungry and I hadn’t eaten properly in days, but it was perfect! I was asked how I’d like each component, my protein.. veggie, fish or meat, the base,.. coconut, how spicy (SPICY), what type of noodle, etc.. It was just poifect! Usually at the table there’ll be a little selection of condiment jars with extra seasonings and spice. What I really like is the vinegar with sliced chilies, it cuts through the richness of the coconut and gives an extra dimension and kick.
So fast forward two years and I keep seeing noodle soup recipes everywhere, so I decided to follow suit and create one myself!
So here you go.. To fit into Veganuary I’ve used soy sauce instead of fish sauce, but if you prefer fish sauce go ahead.(..after January ;)
Some of ingredients may look a little out there but I assure you if you live near an Asian supermarket*, you’ll find what you need. I would try to get fresh kaffir lime leaves, I couldn’t get hold of any this time so used frozen, which I’d recommend over dried.
Oh, and me and Mem are heading back to Bangkok in just a few weeks! So I’m very excited. :)
Coconut Lemongrass Noodle Soup
For the paste:
13g turmeric (fresh)
10g coriander root
16 green birds eye chilli, deseeded if desired
5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
11/2tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
Cut your tempeh into small cubes, mix together the rest of the ingredients reserving half tbsp. coconut oil. Add the tempeh and thoroughly coat. Set aside until your ready to fry.
Just before you’re ready to serve, heat a small fry pan on medium high heat. Add the remaining ½ tbsp of coconut oil to the pan, then the tempeh. Cook until crispy on all sides.
Quick pickled shallots
2 small shallots, finely sliced
2 birds eye chili, finely sliced
150ml rice vinegar
Salt your shallot and chilli and set aside for 20 minutes, to soften. Add the rice wine vinegar and let sit for at least 30 minutes to over night.
For the soup
3 kaffir lime leaves, stem removed and finely sliced
30g, kaffir lime left whole (I used a lot because mine were frozen and not as flavourful- if you have fresh you can use a little less)
30g galangal, finely sliced
20g green peppercorns*
400g tin coconut milk*
half aubergine sliced diagonally
200g rice noodles (I used brown rice vermicelli)
½- 1 tbsp palm sugar or coconut sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
handful Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
Fry your paste for 10 minutes in deep pan until the oil just starts to separate.
Thinly slice your galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. Using the base of your knife handle or another heavy object bruise the lemongrass so it splinters but still holds together, releasing the flavour. Cut your peppercorn strings into 1 inch pieces.
Once the paste is cooked, add your coconut milk, refill the tin with warm water and add to the pan. Add your aubergine, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal. Season the broth with soy sauce and coconut sugar (start with less and add more if needed). Simmer for 20 minutes.
While simmering your broth, cook your noodles, drain and rinse with cold water.
Cook the tempeh as above.
Separate the noodles between your serving bowls. I like nice deep bowls to hold the broth. Taste for seasoning and scoop the broth over the noodles. Top with roughly chopped Thai basil and your fried tempeh.
Serve with the quick pickled shallots and enjoy.
* My local in Hackney has everything you need:
London Star Night Supermarket 203-213 Mare St, Dalston, London E8 3QE
Longdan is also very good and is all over London.
* Important to use a good quality, not ‘light’ coconut milk - I used Aroy-d from the Asian supermarket, Chaokoh brand is also goo.
*if you can’t find fresh green peppercorns jarred are common in bigger supermarkets.