I've always been a fan of the Thai lemongrass soup that you see on menus around town. It's spicy, filling, and very healthy. And once you figure out the ingredients? It's incredibly easy to make, and even improve on.
Mushrooms (I'm using generic sliced mushrooms because canned 'shrooms squick me out, but just about any mushroom you like will work), red pepper, lime, veggie broth, sugar, ginger, coconut milk, tofu (firmer is better), red curry paste, lemongrass, soy sauce.
Take your fresh ginger and grate out about two tablespoons (the ginger should be paste-like). Grate out two tablespoons of lime as well. Side note: Lime zest is the green stuff, you don’t want to hit the soft white part. Set the lime aside, because you will use it later.
Red pepper and 'shrooms:
Rinse off your mushrooms of choice, and cut the red pepper into matchstick-shaped portions.
Drain your block of tofu cut it into 1-inch cubes. Don't worry about squeezing the excess water out of the tofu.
Tossin' things in the pot:
Add three cups of veggie broth (or three cups of water and a veggie broth cube, which is what I do), 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and a cube of sugar (about a tsp). Throw the ginger, zest, tofu, red pepper, and mushrooms in as well. Bring to a bowl, stirring occasionally.
Can of coconut milk: Now's your moment to shine. Stir the coconut and bring to a tiny boil again.
Still adding stuff:
Still bubbling, add two generous tablespoons of lemongrass. I used this dried stuff that's almost a powder, but fresh and the dried tubes also work well. Take half the lime and squeeze the juice into the mix. Side note: If you don’t have fresh lime, you can make a poor man's version of this using a healthy squirt from one of those plastic lime juice thingies.
Here's the step that might freak people out: You need red curry paste to make this recipe. I know I glaze over recipes when I read some ingredient or cooking tool I don't normally use, but this is a really non-scandalous ingredient, I promise. You can buy it in any grocery store in the “Asian foods” section. It will cost you about $4, and it will last a year. So lower the heat, and add 2-3 teaspoons of red curry paste. I do three, because I like it spicy, and the paste makes it yummy. You might want to add a teaspoon at a time, testing along the way so it's not too hot. Stir to incorporate all ingredients, turn off the heat and let things sit for a minute.
The end product. This only lasts about two days, since the tofu gets brown like a banana and that turns some people off. Also, you can add any vegetable to this you want. I've done snap peas, spinach, onions, and other stuff that’s turned out well. You can also add noodles and rice if that’s your thing.