The January theme for No Croutons Required was a soup or salad inspired by Thai cuisine, and I read that suggestion just as I was overcome by a craving for tofu. I’m normally struck with the desire for tofu once a month, usually when I’m feeling particularly guilty about something. 19 days into the New Year and already I’ve done something that makes me want to punish myself with tofu. Those resolutions have not lasted well.
Taking Thai + tofu + soup (salad? In winter? I don’t think so) lead me to hot and sour soup filled with the chunky green veg that fights it’s way up out of the frozen soil at this time of year. Hot and sour is a moreish flavour and I can easily be fooled into eating cabbage when the leaves are soaked in tamarind, sugar and chilli. Add in some citrus and a few aromatics and you have the makings of a serious winter soup.
Hot and sour tofu soup
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
1-2 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped (depending on how hot you like it)
10g galangal or ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp coconut oil
100g tofu, drained and sliced into 21/5cm squares
500ml hot vegetable stock
Juice of 1 orange
2 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp dark brown soft sugar
1 tsp dark soy sauce
60g purple sprouting or tenderstem broccoli
40g savoy cabbage, sliced into strips
50g carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
Fresh coriander leaves, to serve
1 Place all the paste ingredients in a small processor and blitz to make a reasonably smooth paste (or place in a small bowl and use a hand-held blender).
2 Melt the coconut oil in a medium pan and add the paste. Cook over a medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tofu and cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, then add the stock, orange juice, tamarind, sugar and soy sauce. Bring to the boil.
3 Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the broccoli. Simmer for 3 minutes, then add the cabbage and carrot. Simmer for a further 3–5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Stir in a handful of fresh coriander leaves. Ladle into a deep bowl and serve immediately.