Tom kha sopa de frijol

Tom kha sopa de frijol

Creator notes

There’s simply nothing more comforting to me than a creamy sopa de frijol and a rich and bright tom kha soup. Both have historically cured all my ailments, from heart to stomach, and felt like an especially apt soup to share during these difficult times. As we anchor into the freshness of spring’s citrus season, and enter all things coconut for the summer, the marriage of the two soups felt meant to be, while showcasing the light spring quality of the Flor de Mayo bean.   

Though this bean has a tender name, May flower, it’s resilient, tolerant, and insists on life. It originated out of a need for beans during a difficult period in agriculture in Guanajuato, Mexico. Revista Fitotecnia writes that In the 70’s, the lowlands of Guanajuato were confronted with a plant virus, called the Tobacco Mosaic virus, that would cause a mosaic-like pattern upon infecting the plant. In response to this crisis, the National Institute of Beans (Frijol del Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias) bred a new and more virus-tolerant species of bean in the early 80s. 

Its subtle yet deep flavor profile and starchy texture makes for a delicious pot of brothy beans with crema, a fatty glug of olive oil, and a hefty squeeze of lime. Inspired by these flavors commonly found in a humble and beloved bowl of brothy beans, this soup takes its lime-y flavor from Thai kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, and its creaminess from rich coconut milk. 

Enjoy with warm slices of bread or fresh tortillas de harina for a light and nourishing lunch or appetizer. 

– Andrea Aliseda, @andrea__aliseda 



Featured bean: Flor de Mayo

Other beans to try: Bayo or Ojo de Cabra

Take 'em from dried to cooked with our guide

Print recipe here



For the soup
  • 3 cups cooked Flor de Mayo beans, strained with broth reserved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chiles de árbol, deseeded
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp mushroom powder
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 13.5-oz can coconut milk, full fat
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 1-inch piece of lemon grass
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • ⅛ of a bunch of fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • ¼ bunch Thai basil, for serving
  • Lime, for serving
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving
For the coconut crema
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cultured coconut yogurt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


Prepare the soup: To a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat, add olive oil. Once oil is warm, add chiles de árbol and bay leaf. (Note: this will activate their flavor more and bring out its spiciness. For a milder and fruitier result, add chile de árbol when instructed to add kaffir leaves.)

Add mushroom powder and black pepper next, stirring quickly. Then add butter and garlic. Stir everything together until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Once garlic is golden, add strained beans to the saucepan and stir to coat everything together, about 2 minutes until it starts to bubble up. Rub kaffir leaves with your hands to release the aromas and add them to beans, as well as the lemongrass (if you withheld the chile de árbol, add it here now), then add the ½ cup of reserved bean broth and whole can of coconut milk. Stir together and put on high heat.

Add salt and stir. Once the soup has come to a boil, add cilantro and lightly submerge. Then, bring the heat down to medium and allow it to simmer for about 7 minutes. The kaffir leaves should be a paler green, and the broth a light mushroom brown. Taste to adjust salt if needed. Turn off the heat and remove chiles, kaffir leaves, bay leaf, and lemongrass. Allow mixture to cool for about 5 minutes before blending. 

Make coconut crema: Make the coconut crema. Add coconut yogurt and lemon juice to a small mixing bowl. Mix together with a whisk, and set in the fridge if not using immediately. 

Finish soup and assemble: Pluck out leaves of cilantro and Thai basil and set aside for serving. Next, blend the soup together until smooth, and serve hot. Drizzle in the coconut crema, olive oil, and a squeeze of lime, then sprinkle with fresh cilantro and Thai basil and a pinch of flaky sea salt. Enjoy with warm slices of bread or fresh tortillas.



Feast for the Future brothy beans

Feast for the Future brothy beans

Southwest salad with Primary Beans Southwest Red beans

Southwest beans with toasted hominy and honey tomatillo vinaigrette

Crispy chicken thighs with braised beans and asparagus

Crispy chicken thighs with braised beans and asparagus