The No Croutons Required challenge for January was to make a Thai inspired vegetarian soup or salad. Spicy Thai food is probably my favorite cuisine after Indian. For some reason, I rarely cook Thai at home but that will surely change after receiving these inspiring entries. Influenced by the flavours of China and India, but with a unique blend of stylistic flavours of its own, Thai cooking is fun and worth the effort in the kitchen. As usual, the choice won't be an easy one, but please vote for your favorite submission in the comment section or via email. Please note my contribution is not eligible for voting.
Our very first entry is this flavorful Thai Soup with Tofu from Mansi of Fun and Food Cafe. A homemade green chili paste made up of Thai chilies, garlic, shallots, galangal, kaffir lime rind, lemon grass, cumin and coriander seeds is simmered into a delicious soup with cubes of tofu, fresh basil leaves, peas, coconut milk and fresh lime juice. More veggies can be added to this soup, but such elegance as Mansi has produced has me craving a bowl just as is. (California, USA)
Priya is up next with this tempting Thai Green Mango Salad. This crunchy salad is made up of green mango, bean sprouts, fresh coriander leaves, spring onions, roasted peanuts and Thai chilies and then tossed with a dressing of soya sauce, lemon juice, a bit of brown sugar and some Thai chili sauce. So fresh and nourishing, this salad would make a perfect side dish to any spicy meal. (Paris, France)
Usha of Veg Inspirations submits this quick and easy, but oh so tasty, Vegan Thai Curry Soup. Soon to be regular on her menu, this delightful soup combines the goodness of onion, carrots, button mushrooms, sweet potato, ginger, red curry paste, red chili powder, coconut milk and cilantro. Usha suggests you add spinach for a slightly earthier flavour. Either way, I'd be sure to enjoy a bowl of this healthy soup. (North Carolina, USA)
Graziana of Cooking with Herbs gets inspired and makes a Steamed Vegetable Salad with Homegrown Herbs and Thai Seasoning. This veggie packed salad is made up of steamed potato, cauliflower, onion, carrot and served with homemade Thai curry paste, peanut butter, tamarind, coconut powder, soya sauce and Nuoc Nam sauce. A flavourful and healthy side dish for any occasion! (Italy)
Nina of Miss.Adventure@Home cooks up a Thai Hot and Sour Soup that she was inspired to make after enjoying one from a local restaurant. Easy to make says Nina, this brothy soup combines homemade vegetable broth, lemon grass, a small amount of sugar, tamarind paste, lime juice, chili paste, shiitake mushrooms, enoki mushrooms. bamboo, tofu and a beaten egg if desired. Other vegetables can be added to this yummy soup if desired. (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
Lisa of Sunday Hotpants contributes this elegant Cucumber and Papaya Thai Salad that she adapted from a Thai cookbook by David Thompson. This hot, sour and salty salad is made up of papaya, cucumber, shallots, mint leaves and coriander leaves and tossed with garlic, a pinch of salt and sugar, chilies and lime juice. Lisa suggests adding Mangosteen if you can find them. (Dunedin, New Zealand)
Sweatha of Tasty Curry Leaf prepares a fresh vegan version of Som Tam that would be ideal served with sticky rice. This Thai Green Papaya Salad includes shredded papaya, tossed with crushed garlic, cherry tomatoes, green beans, green chilies, lime juice, soya sauce and some sugar. Simple but not lacking in flavour! Delightful for any occasion. (Bangalore, India)
My own contribution this month is a Hot and Sour Mushroom Soup made with fresh Nam Prik Sauce. I can never resist mushrooms and for this unique soup I used oyster mushrooms, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, tamari sauce, a wee bit of sugar, fresh lemon juice, dried wild mushrooms and green chilies. The left over Nam Prik Sauce made up of roasted eggplant, shallot, tomatoes, garlic and tamari would go nicely with veggies or served over pasta. (London, Ontario, Canada)
Jassy of Gin and Crumpets contributes this winter Hot and Sour Tofu Soup that is packed full of veggie goodness. A paste of shallots, chilies, galangal, garlic, lime and soya sauce is made into a soup of tofu, veggie stock, fresh orange juice, tamarind paste, a sprinkling of sugar, soya sauce, broccoli, cabbage, carrot and fresh coriander leaves. Perfect for lunch or a light dinner. (London, England, UK)
From Mango Cheeks we have a pretty Thai Butternut Squash Soup with Tofu Croutons. This creamy and luscious soup features butternut squash, coconut milk, veggie stock, kaffir lime leaves, baby spinach, lime and fresh coriander. No croutons required, but Mango Cheeks served the soup up with some crispy tofu croutons coated with soya sauce and Thai curry paste. Serve with rice for a substantial and satisfying meal. (West of Scotland)
Nupur of One Hot Stove cooks up this colourful Thai-Spiced Mushroom Noodle Soup which is certain to cure all that ails you. This slurpable soup combines the goodness of mushroom stock, soothing lemon grass, cremini mushrooms, green onions, red curry paste, soya sauce and udon noodles. Garnish with green onions, lime juice and cilantro for a real treat! (St. Louis, Missouri, USA)
Last, but certainly not least, Kevin of Closet Cooking submits this gorgeous Thai Black Rice Salad. This vibrant salad and irresistible dish brings together Thai black rice, red pepper, mango, green onions, fresh cilantro and mint, cashews and is tossed with soya sauce, lime juice, a small amount of palm sugar and a bird's eye chili. Totally drool worthy! (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Jacqueline will be hosting the February edition of No Croutons Required. Check back at the beginning of the month for the theme.