Spicy Thai Coconut Soup with Ginger, Lime and Vermicelli

Spicy Thai Coconut Soup with Ginger, Lime and Vermicelli_blog
You’re looking at my current obsession soup.

I can – and do – eat it days on end.

I have long been a fan of Thai cuisine with its vibrant colours, unparalleled flavours and warming properties.  Strangely, the one time I visited Thailand, I was so captivated by the beauty and serenity of the Buddhist Temples, that food played a secondary role (hard to imagine, I know).

Among my favourite Thai dishes are the country’s hot and sour soups – or Tom Yum (meaning boiled spicy soup).  There are hundreds of variations of tom yum, with Tom Yum Goong probably being the most well known (the version that incorporates shrimp).

The vegetarian version that I have prepared today is the one I make most often.  It has all the warming properties and flavours of the traditional broth with plant-based proteins.  I have also incorporated vermicelli in this recipe mostly in honour of my husband who introduced me to Singapore Style Fried Rice Vermicelli back when we first started dating in Montreal. Every time I come across vermicelli, I think of him.

Spicy Thai Coconut Soup with Ginger, Lime and Vermicelli
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce, optional for non vegetarians
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • Juice of one lime
  • Zest of one lime
  • 500 grams (or 1 large block) firm tofu, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame
  • 100 grams vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 cup or so cilantro
In a large saucepan, sauté onion with some olive oil on low heat until translucent (about 3 minutes). Add chili garlic sauce and ginger to pan, mixing well with onion.

Meanwhile, run edamame under hot water, drain and set aside.

Add the next 8 ingredients to onion mixture: fish sauce (if using), coconut milk, vegetable stock, lime juice, lime zest, tofu, red pepper and edamame. Mix to combine.  Allow soup to come to a boil, add vermicelli noodles and mix while immersing noodles.  Reduce soup to simmer.

Add most of the cilantro to the soup (reserving some for topping), mixing to combine.  Serve soup with a sprinkle of cilantro over top, as desired.

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  1. says

    This looks delicious. I just posted a similar soup yesterday. I really love that you added the edamaes. I love the lightness with the spiciness of a soup like this.

  2. Sallybr2008 says

    you have no idea how much I would love this soup! I might even go for the tofu, although Phil might start a conversation with the dogs “see, boys… Mom is punishing Dad for something, but I swear I did nothing wrong” ;-)

  3. says

    Ha, I saw the picture and my eyes immediately went to two things:

    Edamame – <3
    Cilantro – <3

    I would say – “who cares about the rest, it’s got edamame and cilantro”, but the soup looks amazing, and I’m jealous because, I don’t know why, but every time I try to make a thai soup like this it’s such a giant disaster :( Yours has a really rich colour and looks so nice. Mine is always a funky grey colour :(

  4. Eliotseats says

    I like it! I love the colors too. This sounds like a perfect light soup for lunch with just enough spice to get one through the afternoon!

  5. Kristy says

    Gorgeous photo Kelly! I just love it. The colors are awesome. And I’m in love with that dish! How fun that you’ve been to Thailand. I’d love to get there someday too. This soup looks wonderful. I know Mike and I would like it, and I think Miss A would even enjoy picking out and eating the tofu. :)

  6. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says

    I love how vibrant this is! I love Thai cuisine also and this soup just looks so fresh and delicious!

  7. says

    This is my favorite type of Thai soup – spicy, coconut milk and tofu! Yep – lots of color and healthy ingredients. Love your recipe and that bit of chili garlic sauce I’m sure gives it quite a bite! Gorgeous soup!

  8. Pure Complex says

    I am seriously not that found of coconut. I have no idea why, but I am just not crazy about them. But you definitely make this soup look delicious enough for me to overlook that fact lol

  9. Eva says

    Another one of my fav’s Kelly! I don’t often make the coconut milk based Tom Yum, but I think I will try soon. I adore the complex flavours of this simple soup! It’s the middle of the night and I really want a bowl!!!! Like Now!

  10. says

    Kelly, even though I’m an avowed carnivore, I sincerely love tofu, am crazy for Thai curry and at first look this bowl looks like a red curry with tofu! I love this recipe and if I weren’t in the middle of my lunch I would have your soup. Your photos are gorgeous!
    (By the way, I’m one of these awful travellers who apart from discovering food, having drinks and doing clothes shopping – if possible – doesn’t do much ;-) Actually, yes: I love watching the local people. I’m afraid I would hardly remember the temples!)

  11. inspirededibles says

    Haha, you would remember the temples in Thailand… they are truly extraordinary; like nothing I’ve experienced in this part of the world and the rituals for prayer – everyone taking their shoes off and sitting on the ground side by side is so powerful, it’s not possible to be left unmarked.

    The red colour in the soup comes from the chili garlic sauce… I use it on virtually everything – just had it on my morning eggs ;-). Have a beautiful day Sissi.

  12. inspirededibles says

    Thanks MJ – I do like my spices… but you know, this soup is a hit with my whole family… my boys ask for it by name ;-)

  13. inspirededibles says

    Sandstorm? How intriguing… Lots of freezing rain and ‘wet’ snow over here the last few days. Have a great day Alyssa ~

  14. inspirededibles says

    Thank you Kristy! Bangkok was otherwordly in the true sense of the word… I highly recommend it if you get a chance.

  15. inspirededibles says

    Thanks so much – I have become very habituated in my edamame ways… I picked up a veg soup on the go at our local sushi place yesterday that didn’t have edamame in it… it just wasn’t the same ;-)

  16. inspirededibles says

    Hee.hee, thanks Amy! I hope you enjoy it if you decide to try. It’s really very quick to prepare and I usually double the batch to make it worthwhile ;0

  17. inspirededibles says

    Thanks so much Claudia… it does look pretty, doesn’t it. Winter warming indeed. Have a beautiful day :)

  18. inspirededibles says

    Thanks Junia – I thought of you with this one. So intriguing about the seaweed… I would expect anything from the sea to carry sodium… I have to investigate because now you’ve got me curious… ;-)

  19. says

    Oh for real – I usually use thai green chilli paste, and by the time it’s mixed up with the chicken and coconut milk it really has a bad colour. I’ll try it your way next time ;)

  20. inspirededibles says

    Oh, but I do… :) You know, tofu is like a sponge; it will take on the flavours you cook it with so, in this case, with the chili, lime, coconut and ginger aromas going on, it’s really hard not to like the otherwise underwhelming soy slab ;-)

  21. says

    Oh my goodness – this is so beautiful! And I”m laughing Kelly because I’m actually making a Thai coconut soup today myself. Love all these flavors and that each rendition is so different – you’ll probably see mine next week – if it isn’t a flop! :) I’ve had a few of those lately so I have to add that condition :).

  22. inspirededibles says

    I don’t think you’re capable of flopping Chris… nothing but glory on your outstanding site ;0) – have a beautiful day…

  23. says

    Oh…So good. You might just have inspired me to try it. We have so many thai restaurants near downtown Orlando, but there is nothing like cooking at home and enjoying the process. Thank you!

  24. says

    Tom Yum soup is one of my favorites. Something about the spicy and sour that is so delightful. It’s especially nice on a cold day since the spice really warms you up. Gorgeous recipe Kelly.

  25. says

    I’m sorry to interrupt your conversation, but I couldn’t help laughing because I totally understand Charles. Green curry is my favourite but I always joke that, logically, its characteristic is that it’s not green ;-) (My husband prefers red, so I’m always jealous of his dish’s colour)

  26. Elyse says

    I made this 2 weeks ago and I’m making it again tonight…delicious!!! One tip I found helpful was to cook the noodles seperately, put some cooked noodles in the bottom on the soup bowl, and pour the soup over the noodles; the noodles absorb broth really quickly! :)

    But really, GREAT recipe! Thank you so much for posting! <3

  27. inspirededibles says

    Hi Elyse, thank you so much for your feedback. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe and thank you for the helpful tip re: the noodles. When I use vermicelli I find it requires almost no cooking time before it breaks down and absorbs but depending on the noodle that is used, you’re quite right, that’s an excellent idea to pre-cook. Cheers Elyse! Have a beautiful day :)

  28. says

    I’ve only made soup a few times before so I was wondering… When you add the 8 ingredients, do you increase the heat to medium or to high for it to come to a boil? (seeing as you start on low). Also, how long do you let it simmer after you’ve added the vermicelli? Thanks in advance!!

    • kelly says

      Hi Chadi,, thanks for dropping by. You just need to bring the soup to the boiling point (yes, increase the heat) and then reduce right away — the noodles are immersed at the peak of heat and will continue to cook on lower heat. It does not take long at all (maybe 5 minutes) — you can sample the soup at this stage — just allow the sample to cool slightly so it’s not too hot when you do so. Hope that helps and that you enjoy this warming and delicious soup!

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