A simple soup bulked up with rice and influenced by Thai flavors. It simmers up vegan, then simply ladle into bowls and pile with your protein of choice (tofu for the vegans, chicken for the carnivores). Perfect for when omnivores and vegetarians/vegans dine together!
4cupslow-sodium vegetable broth
115-ounce can coconut milk (full fat)
1/2cupricerinsed (I use uncooked long-grain white rice; feel free to use a different kind but you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly)
1thumb-size piece gingersliced into coins
1 3-inchpiece fresh lemongrasshalved lengthwise, and crushed lightly with knife*
2-3dried Thai bird-eye chilesoptional**
1/2teaspoonkosher salt + more to taste
1teaspoonfresh lime zest
1tablespoonfreshly squeezed lime juice
Marinated or plain extra-firm tofucut into cubes OR
Shredded cooked chicken
Sliced fresh chili peppers
Set a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add broth, coconut milk, rice, ginger, lemongrass, chiles (if using), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. Using a slotted spoon, pick out the ginger, lemongrass pieces, and birds-eye chiles and discard.
Stir in lime zest and lime juice. Taste and add additional salt if desired.
Ladle into bowls and top with a generous amount of tofu or chicken. Add garnishes - I like lots of fresh cilantro, sliced peppers, and an extra lime wedge for squeezing. Serve.
Leftovers keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Note the soup does thicken up over time because the rice continues to absorb the liquid. But it still tastes delicious!
* Find lemongrass at your local well-stocked grocery store or Asian market. To prep, lop off the grassy end and and the bottom inch or so. Then cut off a 3-inch piece of what you have left. Slice it in half lengthwise then crush each half lightly with your knife to help release the oils.** The chiles add a tiny amount of heat. Crush them before adding if you want more of a punch. I use Thai Kitchen brand, found in the Thai food section of my grocery store.