Vegan Tom Kha Bento + Recipe


I hope everyone had a good weekend! 🙂

I would have had a great weekend if it wasn’t for the cold I caught. But I promptly made a warming Tom Kha soup noodle bento to cheer myself up. Tom Kha is a Thai classic in the form of a spicy coconut broth that is fragrant and citrus-y. It usually contains chicken and fish sauce, but I altered the recipe to suit a vegan diet. I should make more vegan stuff. 🙂

This flavourful vegan broth combines flavours from East and Southeast Asia, fusing quintessentially Thai flavours with some of my favourite East Asian ingredients. As with most of my soup recipes, I love adding shiitake water (water which I use to reconstitute shiitake mushrooms) to my soup base as all the lovely flavours of the mushrooms are trapped in the water, giving the broth a rich umami taste. Accompanying the broth are tofu bunnies on a bed of rice noodles. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 1/2 cup of reduced sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 3 white mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in 1/3 cup of water then sliced (don’t discard water!)
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 block of firm tofu, cubed (or cut into whatever shape you prefer)
  • 1 inch knob of galangal, grated
  • 1 cayenne pepper, chopped and deseeded (wear gloves, or you will get nasty chilli burns… and don’t rub eyes!!!)
  • 1 bird’s eye chilli, chopped and deseeded (wear gloves!!!)
  • 1 tbsp of palm sugar or raw cane sugar
  • 3 kaffir leaves (optional)
  • a generous handful of coriander / cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt and ground white pepper to taste
  • rice noodles (optional)
  • 1 tsp of vegetable oil


1. Coat skillet evenly with 1/2 tsp oil. When skillet is heated, shallow fry tofu cubes/shapes until sides turn golden brown and set aside. Cook noodles according to packet instructions and set aside.

1. In a soup pot, heat 1/2 tsp oil. When oil is heated, add shallot and garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds until aromatic but do not brown. Pour in coconut milk, stock, and shiitake water. Bring to boil.

2. Add galangal, lemongrass, kaffir leaves, cayenne, and chilli and simmer for 10 minutes on medium heat.

3. Add mushrooms and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

4. Add half the coriander, sugar, and soy sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes. If you like, remove kaffir leaves, galangal, lemongrass stalks, and chilli from your broth before serving.

5. Turn off heat and serve with remaining coriander and tofu cubes, rice noodles, a wedge of lime, and some chopped chillies.

Bento Tools:

  • Daiso bowl, tray, chopsticks, bunny mould/cutter
  • Sauce/relish dish from Jonker Gallery, a gorgeous shop in the Malaysian city of Malacca, which sells lots of ethnic knick-knacks

Enjoy! 🙂

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Link up:

Bento Lunch


5 thoughts on “Vegan Tom Kha Bento + Recipe

    • Thank you Lijiun! Yes, I completely forgot about how hot they could be! I ended up with chilli burns on my fingers lol! 😉

      BTW, I left you a comment on your cooking blog but I think your spam filter has marked it as spam. There’s a fault on WordPress that some people’s comments are being marked as spam… 😦

  1. Pingback: Coconuty Mushroom Lemongrass soup | Keli Paan

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