Spicy Tomato Kabocha Soup With Tofu

October  8, 2021
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Photo by MJ Kroeger. Prop Stylist: Suzie Myers. Food Stylist: Ericka Martins.
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 3 (yields 7 cups)
Author Notes

There’s nothing more satisfying than turning a batch of tomatoes into a delicious soup packed with vegetables and aromatic spices. If I had to choose a soup to have everyday, this spicy tomato soup would be one of them. The ingredients are first roasted in the oven, then charred under a low broil to extract the maximum flavor. Thai-inspired flavors, such as lemongrass and galangal, give this soup a wonderful citrus fragrance while keeping the tang in every slurp. Because I naturally gravitate toward spicy food, the jalapeños definitely add great heat. All in all, this soup is savory and spicy, with an appetizing tang that is perfect year-round.

A few cooking tips:

- Use a mix of tomato varieties for a more complex tomato flavor. You can also use canned fire-roasted tomatoes if you’d like, just skip roasting them in the oven.

- Season with a pinch of sugar or vegan fish sauce, like nước mắm chay, if you prefer a less tangy soup.

- I cut my tofu slices into a wavy shape so the tom yum paste can adhere better, but rectangles also work well.

WoonHeng Chia

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Braun Household. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the soup:
  • 1 pound tomatoes of choice (about 4 medium-sized), cleaned
  • 1/2 pound kabocha squash, skin and seeds removed (yields about ⅓ pound)
  • 2 small carrots, skin removed
  • 2 small shallots, skin removed
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 red jalapeños or Thai chiles (add more for a spicier soup), cleaned
  • 1 small knob galangal, skin removed then bruised with the back of a knife or pestle
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, bruised
  • 1 (1-inch) slice ginger
  • Neutral oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2-3 lime leaves, chiffonade with stems removed (optional)
  • For the toppings:
  • 7 ounces firm tofu, drained and sliced into 1-inch-wide rectangles
  • 1 tablespoon tom yum paste
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil
  • Crispy wontons or noodle strips
  • Sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • Chile oil with sediment
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: Once the vegetables are cleaned, be sure to pat them dry so they will roast and char better. Cut the kabocha squash and carrot into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. Place the prepared vegetables, whole tomatoes, whole shallots, garlic cloves, chile peppers, galangal, and ginger on a sheet pan. Then, generously toss them with oil and season with salt. Spread them out to give the vegetables space so more areas are exposed to the heat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the kabocha is soft and the tomato starts to blister. Turn the broiler to low and broil for another 5 to 8 minutes to char the vegetables. Keep an eye on the spices as they cook and remove them earlier if they brown too quickly.
  3. While the vegetables are in the oven, prepare the tofu: Using your fingers, rub the tofu pieces with tom yum paste until well coated. Add the neutral oil to a non-stick pan set over medium-high heat. Arrange the tofu in one layer (slightly apart) and pan-fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. Transfer the cooked vegetables and spices to a high-speed blender along with the vegetable broth and lime leaves, if using. Blend to your desired thickness—I used the Braun TriForce Power Blender’s Soup function on the Smooth setting, which heats up the soup as it blends and gets the texture that I love. Season with salt, if needed.
  5. To serve, place tofu in a bowl and ladle the soup over. Finish off with crispy wonton strips, cilantro, and a drizzle of chile oil.

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