Thai Curry Soup with Tofu

I don’t cook many strictly Thai dishes, but red and green curry pastes are among the ingredients I constantly keep in my fridge and use quite often, in very unorthodox ways. Most of the time one of them ends up in a quick, flavoursome, vaguely Thai soups or sauces, usually prepared with my beloved, versatile chicken breasts. This quick fiery soup is my first experiment in pairing tofu with Thai seasonings. It was inspired by Kelly’s Spicy Thai Coconut Soup (on Inspired Edibles blog) which, even though made without red curry, instantly reminded me of this wonderful paste. Her soup looked gorgeous, appetising and the idea of serving tofu Thai way simply wouldn’t get out of my mind.

Too lazy to check Kelly’s exact recipe, I simply proceeded like in my usual vaguely Thai soups. I have substituted meat with tofu and added the vegetables I found in my fridge. The result was light, but filling and smelled divine. Tofu was so flavoursome, I bet it tasted better than the cardboard-like battery chicken breasts so many people buy. It was certainly much healthier too. In short, a recipe I can sincerely recommend even to those who are not very fond of tofu. Thank you so much, Kelly, for this excellent idea!

TIPS : Both lemon grass and makrut lime leaves freeze very well. Makrut lime leaves can also be dried. They lose of bit of their aroma, so their amounts should be doubled in this case.

Preparation: 15 – 20 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

200 ml chicken or vegetable stock

100 g firm tofu cut into cubes

1 tablespoon red curry paste (or less if you don’t like very hot dishes)

1 crushed lemon grass stem or 1 big makrut (also known as kafir) lime leaf

50 ml coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

vegetables of your choice (I took sliced red pepper and snow peas)

Combine all the ingredients in a pan (except for coconut milk and the vegetables you would like to keep crunchy) and let them simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add the soft, quick to cook vegetables (such as peas, snow peas or courgette), the coconut milk and let the soup simmer for 5 more minutes.



46 Replies to “Thai Curry Soup with Tofu”

  1. Dear Sissi,

    Contrary to popular belief, Thai flavours are not always curries but more about keeping the balance between lemongrass, kaffir lime, coriander (cilantro) and perhaps tamarind. Not sure about Europe but kaffir lime is pretty expensive here in Sydney and I wonder why people are not planting more of these beautiful plants when Thai food is so popular here now.

    Your soup looks decidedly elegant with the backdrop makes me think I might be in a very zen-like setting.

    1. Thank you so much for the compliment. I thought the colour was strangely orange for a red curry soup 😉
      Even though curries are the most famous part of the Thai cuisine, what I love most is what you cite: lemongrass, kaffir leaves and other herbs. Kaffir limes are not very expensive (I think a bit more than limes), but I have never bought them. Frankly I have no idea what to do with them… I remember a very good Thai restaurant (not in Switzerland alas) where I loved sweet crunchy calamars with garlic I think. They were amazingly good and I have never found the recipe…

  2. The colors look amazing, very vibrant. This reminds me of tom yum soup.
    Given a choice I would also go for tofu instead of “cardboard-like battery chicken breasts”. I haven’t tried the latter but it does not sound very interesting. BTW frozen defrosted tofu loses texture and becomes cardboard like. In this case cardboard chicken could be better than carboard tofu:)

    1. Thank you so much, Mr.Three-Cookies. I have stopped buying this chicken a long time ago, but sometimes when I go out to restaurants I discover the cardboard texture and bland taste again. Only very expensive restaurants here buy good quality meat.
      Thank you for the freezing tip. I have never tried it with tofu, so you have saved me spoiling an experimental package of tofu. I’m sure in this case tofu would be worse even than the worst chicken.

  3. What a wonderful surprise Sissi! And I have to say that your first experiment combining tofu and Thai seasonings is a fulsome success :). Love the colour too ;-).

    I’m so happy I could provide some inspiration for this gorgeous soup ~ thank you so much for thinking of me. (‘too lazy to check Kelly’s exact recipe” – hee.hee, love that!). Thank you for the great tip about freezing lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves – these are two ingredients that I can’t find around the corner, so when I do travel for them it’s worthwhile stocking up and freezing (I adore lemon grass…). I can just imagine how delicious this smelled while cooking Sissi…a nice variant on your beloved miso soup perhaps. Thanks so much!

    1. Kelly, thank you for all the kind words and compliments. I’m happy you don’t mind my changes to your recipe, but I was extremey hungry, wanted a very quick soup and the computer wasn’t on… so I remembered only tofu, coconut milk and curry.
      I have lemon grass and kaffir leaves easily available, but especially kaffir leaves are sold in huge package (about 50 leaves!), so I followed a shop assistant’s advice and started freezing them. They are quite thick, so they don’t lose almost anything in the freezing process.
      Not to mention lemon grass. Thank you again for the inspiration!

  4. My wife loves curries Sissi and I know she would adore this, especially given the fact she is currently on a tofu kick. You already know my feelings on tofu, so you know that I would have to incorporate some meat. 🙂

    1. I hope your wife likes hot dishes too. If she does, than tofu is a very good pairing with chili, Thai curry etc..
      Yes, I remember your fondness of tofu 😉 Actually, tofu is very good stir-fried with bacon!

    1. Thank you so much, Robert-Gilles. It’s always nice to “hear” your voice 😉
      I am particularly happy you like the pitcure (the weather was awfully cloudy and the photographing process very laborious…).

  5. Now that’s fusion. Thai food in a Japanese setting 😀
    I’m in mourning for my poor shriveled kaffir lime plant. That’s one of my favorite herbs. The fruit and its juice…. mmmm…. also very useful and beautifully fragrant. Sigh.
    I love this tofu version. I’d go for this anyday. I agree with with Mr T … better than cardboard battery chicken! Lovely color!
    Oh, he also mentioned about frozen defrosted tofu being cardboard-like? It’s just slightly dehydrated…. hard tofu. We actually have that sold here and it’s very good cubed and sauted in noodles or with vegetables and sometimes a replacement for meat. It’s got a nice bite to it.

    1. Thank you, Ping. You are already very happy to have a possibility to grow such a tree! Don’t worry I’m sure you will manage next season!
      Do you have any recommendations about the kaffir lime fruit) use? I see them here quite often, but have no idea what to do with them…
      Now that you tell me, I think I have seen fried frozen tofu on Japanese blogs… Thank you for this precious information!

      1. The Thais have a clear tomyam called Tom Kha which has a clear soup and includes coconut meat and the juice … not milk, and they sometimes squeeze some of the kaffir lime juice in it to give a little zing. The zest (difficult to do with their funny wrinkly skin) is also great to use in desserts. You know those key lime pies? Just a little bit of kaffir juice makes it quite interesting. Also great as part of a salad dressing. Not too much tho, those little things have a powerful scent 😀 My grandma used to rub the skin onto her scalp and throw halved fruits into the bathtub … beauty regimen. 🙂

        1. Thank you so much, Ping, for the advice! I will remember your tips and buy some kaffir limes soon. I will let you know how I managed!

  6. Sissi, what a beautiful bowl of soup! You don’t have to convince me to have more tofu, personally I can have them everyday and never get tired!

    I remember not being able to find red curry at the local Asian market and was puzzled by that. To tell you the truth I don’t really know much about curry paste, growing up my Mom made her fabulous curry chicken with the yellow curry powder, and I can still remember how aromatic the house smelled each time… Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much, Jeno! I’m happy you like tofu too 🙂 Curry powder is Indian (I think) but I love it too. Thai curry paste has nothing to do with powdered curry (maybe only the yellow paste which contains some turmeric too).
      If you want to experiment with it, let me know. I will send you green or red curry. It’s sold here in many shops, also in small flat bags, very easy to send by post!

  7. Sissi, this soup looks delicious and delicate with the lemongrass, I yet have to cook with lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves…love the pictures as well.
    Hope you are having a fabulous week 🙂

  8. I remember well Kelly’s recipe – I was so jealous because the colours were so rich. I see you’ve been able to produce an equally rich dish, and I can just imagine that the flavours and aroma were truly delicious, especially with the lemongrass or lime leaf!

    1. Thank you so much, Charles. My soup is orange rather than Kelly’s red (it reminds me of one of your comments about the green curry being grey 😉 ), but she had an excellent idea to combine hot flavours with tofu.

  9. Love your Thai curry soup, Sissi! Red curry is one of my favorite to use. However, I have to watch the amount especially when I am cooking for my family as they are not very big on hot food. Otherwise, I end up finishing the dish my self if it’s too hot. (Fine with me, thought). 🙂

    Have a good rest of the week, Sissi!

    ~ ray ~

    1. Thank you so much, Ray. I am lucky because I like hot food and my husband even more, so no problems there.

  10. Sissi, now I have a craving for thai curry soup! I used to have lemon grass and kafir lime leaves in my freezer all the time, but I haven’t made anything with them in quite some time. I must pick some up soon and make this….like tomorrow!

  11. I have jars of both red and green curry paste in the fridge also. Love them both and any curry soup or dish that they are added to. This soup looks quite delicious! I’ve made some similar with shrimp, but never tofu. The tofu sounds perfect with all these great flavors.

  12. I’ve seen red curry paste but I wasn’t sure how spicy it is so I haven’t bought it yet. How level of spice is it? Well, but maybe that’s a bad question because my husband always say “it’s not spicy at all” and I’d still drink up whole glass after he said it’s not spicy. lol. I need to train myself slowly though. I still don’t know why Thai food is one of my favorite (top5 for sure) food, when I can’t eat spicy food. Isn’t that funny?? Your soup looks beautiful – Chopin is right, it’s very zen-like picture. 😉

    1. Thank you, Nami. If I were you, I would forget red or green curry. There is a yellow (r maybe slightly orange) Thai curry paste much much milder, perfect for people who don’t like hot food. You should ask in the shop (I never buy it and don’t remember the name).
      I like a lot other Thai dishes, not only hot, so I totally understand why you like Thai cuisine. It’s so aromatic and full of flavours.

  13. Hi Sissi!

    our dogs finnished the lemongrass. it was growing so well!
    I was planning on useing it more for this kind of recipes. I dont know much thai cuisine and I always wanted to cook some.

    First time I hear of Kaffir lime leaves. I ll have to research a bit…
    I can imagine great flavoures in your Thai curry soup with tofu, thats in my future try out “box”.

    thanks a lot for sharing Sissi!

    1. Thank you so much, Helene. You are lucky to be able to grow lemon grass! Maybe the dogs liked the scent? It’s so aromatic when squashed! Kaffir lime is smaller than the most popular lime and it has wrinkled skin. Maybe it even grows in your country?

  14. That would have been a great Thai curry especially with the capsicum and the snow peas making it so colourful. It’s wonderful to be able to make up a meal in less than 15 minutes that is so tasty and so good for you.

  15. My friend and me discussed the following issue: what is hotter, green or red chilli paste? We both agreed the green has a more agressive taste/zing but is the best in combination with fish or seafood. Anyhow I love Thai recipes (10 years ago there was a huge data collection in the internet from one thai guy Colonel “Name forgotten”. I will always regret not to have downloaded all – only a few..) Your soup looks awsome, beautiful, I adore this colour.

    1. Thank you so much, Kiki. We also have often these discussions with my husband because we both love very hot dishes. I think red is hotter, but my beloved one is the green curry because of the slight tanginess and probably a big content of lemon grass. I particularly love it with chicken, but then I could eat chicken every day with every spice or seasoning 😉

  16. A friend of mine had a kaffir lime tree before she moved away and so my cravings for Malaysian and Thai curries began. Your soup looks great in orange – it’s my favourite colour of a curry soup. And I like the tofu and veg version, great for having a break from meat.

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