Pom Pom Pomelo Salad & Tom Kha Tofu


Remember what we wrote in our last post about moving to a house here in Thailand for a couple of weeks. Well we did, and guess what … it was awful. We had rented it unseen, appealed by the close location to the beach, the incredibly low rent, and the kitchen. Without going in to any details, we quickly understood why the rent was so low and cancelled the deal. David’s mother has travelled all the way here from Sweden to spend some time with Elsa (what a grandparent has to go through to be with her first grandchild), and with her help we were able to instead rent a house directly On the beach. It’s the perfect house!

The last couple of months has been all about flying-boating-cabdriving-strolling-bargaining-hoteling-moteling-bungalowing-packing-unpacking-exploring & experiencing. And now we are finally sitting here on our porch in the shade – just relaxing – watching the ocean, the fishing boats and the children playing (Elsa has made a bunch of new friends). Whenever we get bored we take our tuc tuc to a market or to this incredibly cute Little Handmade Shop that we found. Next time we go there we’ll be looking for a birthday present for Elsa.

Of all the thai food that we have tried, the classic Tom Kha soup still is one of our favorites. It is creamy, mild and yet very flavorful from the big chunks of lemongrass and galangal. Another favorite is the pomelo salad, being both sweet, savory and a little spicy. And it’s the first time we have seen a recipe where the lemongrass is chopped so thin that you actually can eat it. We learned these recipes from one of the small restaurants that we have been visiting frequently. They always serve good food, so instead of attending a big arranged thai cooking class we asked if we could step in to their kitchen to learn the recipes directly from the chef.

Thai Pomelo Salad (Recipe adapted from Lanta Round House)
Serves 2

1 medium size pomelo or grapefruit
2 kaffir lime leafs, remove the thick mid-rib, roll them tight and shred very thin
2 tbsp roasted dried coconut
1 small hand full roasted cashew nuts
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 lemongrass (about 10 cm/4 inch each) slice it with a sharp knife very thin

1 tbsp sweet thai chili paste
a pinch of dried chili powder
1 tsp olive oil
1 lime, juice
10 mint leafs

Peel the Pomelo with a knife, cut of the ends and place it on the side and cut vertical slices down the sides and peel the rest by hand. In order to get to the sweet flesh, you have to peel past the thick rind and the bitter membranes that seperates each slice too. Seprate the fruit flesh in quite big pieces by hand, place it in a bowl and set aside.

Roast the coconut flakes and the cashew nuts on a dry pan until golden and let it cool of. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a medium size bowl and add pomelo, coconut, cashew, onion and lemongrass. Place the salad on a plate and garnish with mint leafs. Yum!

Tom Kha Tofu (Recipe adapted from Lanta Round House)
Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil (in thailand they mix a bit of sweet chili paste in the oil, to get the red color)
1/2 chili (without seeds)
6 coriander (cilantro) leaves
2 tomato
2 lemongrass (about 10 cm/4 inch each)
8 cm galangal (also called Kha root or blue ginger), you can also use fresh ginger
500 ml coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaf, remove the thick mid-rib, roll them tight and shred very thin
1 handful mushrooms, cut in halfs
1/4 white cabbage, sliced
300 g tofu (firm) cut in quarters
1 lime, juice
a pinch of salt
a little bit of vegetable stock

Place oil, chili, koriander and tomatoes in 2 bowls and set aside. Crush and slice lemongrass, galangal or ginger roughly and put it in a pot, add coconut milk, when it boil add lime leaf, mushroom, cabbage, tofu, juice from the lime, salt and stock. Let it boil on high heat for 1-2 minutes and taste. Pour the coconut milk soup over the tomatoes and spices in the bowls, garnish with fresh koriander and chili. Enjoy!


  • I made this fantastic soup this evening and was astounded by how easy it was. I forgot to buy tofu so I roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes and poured the infused coconut milk over this... So amazing! (Being a pescatarian... I did add a tablespoon of fish sauce, but I'm sure you could leave that out or just use soy sauce). Thank you for such a yummy straightforward recipe. It tasted like the tom kha I've had in restaurants and I know I will be using this recipe a lot this winter.
  • teal
    which island did you go to?
  • Una
    I want to make the soup for a dinner with 8 people, so will make a large portion. I just have a question - the oil is cold when you put it in the bowls? And if so can the chili paste mix with the oil well enough? Also is it small or large tomatoes that you used? Thanks - I'm a big fan of you blog :)
  • elide
    I made the tom kha tofu and added shitake mushrooms instead and used coconut oil instead of oil! YUM! Defintely be making this again and again! Very easy to make:)
  • Christine
    Just made the tom kha tofu - the first recipe I tried from your blog although I follow it for a while. And even though I normally don't leave a comment I'm doing it now: it was way too delicious! Thanks a lot!
  • Wonderful recipes. I love tofu but I quite seldom make soup with it. I must try this one :)
  • How wonderful of the chefs to let you into their kitchens. Was there a language barrier? My son and I enjoyed bowls of Tom Kha Tofu this afternoon and feel much brighter for it! We used a shortcut at the beginning with a tbsp of green curry paste instead of lemongrass and galangal and it turned out deliciously. I can't wait to try it with the fresh ingredients!
  • mmmmmmmmmm, I want some right now please!! ;) Wehn I was in Thailand as a kid I loved eating Pomelo, I called it 'giant grapefruit'!
  • Your blog is absolutely stunning - I can't believe I've only just stumbled upon it. I can't wait to try this recipe, and have a proper look around for more ideas and inspiration.
  • Beautiful photos, as always. Do you know what truly amazes and inspires me about your 'round-the-world journey? You guys haven't veered from your nutritional regimen. I will try this recipe when I find dried coconut. We have a new, but tiny oriental shop in our small town, but I don't remember seeing dried coconut last time I was in there. Must seek it in London's Chinatown next time... -Grace
  • I´m so inspired by all your photos, recipes and ideas! I just adapted your Tha Kha Tofu recipe: http://www.comocomecami.com/comocomecami/2011/03/ensalada-vietnamita-de-coco-lima-y-tofu.html It came out amazingly!
  • Ooooh the flavours in that Thai Pomelo Salad sound incredible! Must try that um... yesterday! So glad Elsa has made friends, so sweet! The memories you are creating together are wonderful.
  • Oh Im so thankful you were able to find new lodgings and a kitchen you could actually work in :) These dishes are just gorgeous and so unique! I have been seeing pomelos in our local store and now I have an excuse to buy some! Safe travels!
    • Thanks for your sweet comment Coco, lucky you to have pomelos in your local store (you must go and buy some immediately!). I have never seen them in Sweden, even though Luise claims that she knows a store where we can find them. I cross my fingers that she is right. /David
  • Sini
    Tom Kha. Yummy!
  • Tom Kha is hands-down a favorite soup of my fiancée and I -- in fact, it's one of the first things we ever made together. Haven't done so in a while, and with all the gorgeous produce and fresh blocks of tofu at the Asian market on the mainland, I think I'll pencil it in for this weekend. The pomelo salad is intriguing as well. I've never seen anything like it, but I do love pomelo. Cheers, *Heather*
  • Gorgeous pictures!! Can't wait to try the soup recipe. What a nice grandparent to come and visit :)
  • Beautiful, bright food. You guys are the best!
  • Gorgeous! Might try the Tom kha later this week, looks lovely.
  • This whole story is awe-inspiring. It's so great that you were able to do this big trip, and see so many unique things along the way. And to learn from the locals! What a blessing.
  • Janet
    Wow - pomelo salad - that sounds so yummy! I've tried pomelo before, but I'm not sure I can find it on my local market. Do you think i could use grapefruit instead? Beautiful pics by the way?
    • Hi Janet, yes you can replace the pomelo with grapefruit. The grapefruit will probably be a little bit more juicy and taste more tart than the pomelo, but except from that they are pretty similar. /David
  • Yum! That all looks divine! I want to go traveling in Thailand so bad!
  • John
    Tom Kha is also one of my favourite soups, so thank you very much for the recipe. It sounds delicious, even though I am not sure where to find galangal?
    • Hi John, galangal is actually a very important ingredient in this soup, it is the Kha in Tom Kha. But if you can't find it, you can replace it with ginger and it will still taste great. /David

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