One of the myths of Thai cuisine is that it’s all super hot and spicy. Nothing could be further from the truth. A great example is a Thai vegetable soup, a super simple recipe that’s frequently given to those that are plagued with some form of digestive complaint.
Thai vegetable soup is known as gaeng jued in Thailand which means “plain” or “bland” soup.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good.
Light broth-based soups with only a handful of herbs and seasonings can be just as flavorful as more complex soups with many ingredients. For example, curries can contain well over a dozen different types of herbs, spices and roots, all which blend wonderfully. But you’d be hard pressed to identify the lemongrass or any other ingredient. With gaeng jued and other Thai broth-based soups you can really identify specific flavors and learn to really appreciate their fragrance and flavor.
You can also make this Thai vegetable soup heartier with the addition of jasmine rice and pork meatballs. In Thailand pork meatballs are frequently included in vegetable soups. That may seem a little odd for what’s considered a light and plain meal (and a vegetable soup) but meat is viewed as extremely healthy in Thailand, including pork.
Nor is this soup (or any Thai soup for that matter) overloaded with meat. Most soups have small amounts of meat that act in balance with the other elements of the soup. Because bone broth is a good source of amino acids it’s considered to have what’s called a “protein sparing effect.” What that means is that it reduces the body’s need for protein. Perhaps this is why so many Asian soups contain small to moderate amounts of meat?
You could certainly leave out the meatballs if you want. Many versions of this soup use tofu in place of pork (and many include both).
Either way, this recipe can be used for helping a wide variety of digestive complaints such as heartburn, GERD, IBS, bloating, inflammation and excess gas.
As for the vegetables, feel free to experiment with some Asian veggies if you have an Asian market nearby. Different types of bamboo shoots, radishes, mushrooms, gourds, root vegetables, greens and celery are frequently found in the produce section and would all be perfectly fine to use.
Finally, my new book, The Thai Soup Secret, is now available! The recipe below for a Thai vegetable soup is certainly included. Most of the recipes will be broth-based and NOT spicy. If you’d like to learn how to make 39 more super simple, authentic, healthy, broth-based Thai soups in your own kitchen, just click here to learn more.
A fragrant blend of Thai herbs and spices with vegetables in a homemade bone broth.
Craig Fear is the creator of Fearless Eating and the author of three books, The 30-Day Heartburn Solution, Fearless Broths and Soups and The Thai Soup Secret. After years helping clients with digestive issues, Craig decided to pursue writing full-time. He intends to write many more books on broths and soups from around the world! Click here to learn more about Craig.
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