There was a time a few years ago when we spent a very wet few days at Green Man Festival in Wales. By the fourth day, we’d abandoned all hope of looking fashionable and were togged up in raincoats, wellies and every jumper we packed. Everything was soaking, the whole place was a mud bath and we were pretty cold and fed up.
Then we found a place doing thai soup that had steam pouring out of it. We didn’t know whether to drink the cups of warmth or just hold them. Eventually we settled for a little of both. I think that meal saved us from packing up the tent and heading home early.
As soon as we got back we set about making our own version. The criteria was simple – there’s gotta be tofu, noodles and greens, and it must warm you up after a long day outside in the rain. Here it is, in all it’s glory.
1 tbsp peanut/sesame oil
2 stalks of lemongrass, minced
2 large red chilies, sliced (whole if you like it hot, deseeded if you don’t)
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
400ml coconut milk
750ml veg stock
150g rice vermicelli noodles
450g firm tofu
100g edamame beans
4 spring onions, sliced
2 pak choi, chopped
2 limes, quartered
Handful of coriander, chopped
GETTING IT MADE AND INTO YOUR MOUTH
To start, drain the tofu, wrap in a tea towel and press between two chopping boards. Sit a couple of heavy jars or cans on top. Leave for 30 minutes.
Bring a pan of water to the boil and then add the vermicelli noodles. Boil for 5-6 minutes until noodles are cooked. Drain and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat.
Add the lemongrass, chillies and ginger and fry for 4 minutes.
Pour the coconut milk and stock into the pan and bring to the boil. Then reduce to a low simmer.
Cube the tofu and add to the broth with the edamame beans. After five minutes, add the pak choi and the spring onions. Cook for a minute, season to taste and serve.
Garnish with a big handful of chopped coriander, wedges of lime and a sprinkle of chilli flakes for extra heat. Then splash with soy sauce like it’s going out of fashion.