I was asked by a friend to post this recipe for a soup that she still talks about nearly a decade after I first made it. It’s a simple Thai soup that’s both hearty yet light (Is that possible?). It’s also from one of my very first vegetarian cookbooks, Real Vegetarian Thai by Nancie McDermott. At the time, I was intimidated by the occasionally large list of ingredients, but with some experience under the proverbial belt, I’m ready to try my hand at more of these recipes.
For those of you who want to start experimenting with the tastes of vegetarian Thai food, this is a good starting place. The recipe calls for readily available ingredients. And I’ve adapted it a bit, replacing the need for crispy garlic in oil with some regular minced garlic. I’ll include the recipe for the crispy garlic in oil in case you want to give the original recipe for this gaeng jeute soup a try.
So, here you go Sabrina, this one’s for you.
Clear Soup with Spinach and Tofu
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 8 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 tsp sugar
- A handful of baby spinach leaves, stemmed and left whole
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced or 2 Tbsp Crispy Garlic in Oil
- salt to taste
In a saucepan, bring the stock to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add the tofu, pepper, soy sauce, and sugar. Simmer until the tofu is heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach, green onions and garlic. Remove from the heat. Add salt to taste.
If using the crispy garlic, do not add it directly to the soup. Instead transfer to serving bowls and top each bowl of soup with a bit of the crispy garlic.
Crispy Garlic in Oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
Heat a small skillet briefly over low heat. Add the oil and heat until a bit of garlic added to the pan sizzles at once, 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to separate any clumps. As the garlic begins to turn golden and release its perfume, stir gently; as soon as half of the garlic is a soft, wheaty color, after 3 to 4 minutes, remove from the heat and set aside to complete the cooking as the mixture cools to room temperature.
Transfer the garlic and fragrant oil to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.
Makes about 1/4 cup.
(Tofu button comes from the always fun MushyCat.)