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Thai Recipes > Soups > Tom Yum 7 May 2006

Posted by cath in freeze-friendly, Recipes, Thai food, thai soups, variations, very spicy.
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SpicyTom Yum Gungfreeze-friendly
(Hot and Sour Soup with Prawns)

Serves 4 as a lunch with steamed rice, or as a dish in a main meal

Ingredients:
300g whole, large prawns – uncooked, unpeeled
750mls water
2 stalks lemongrass – lower 1/3 only, cut into 3cm/1inch pieces
5 kaffir lime leaves – torn into pieces, discarding stem
3 purple shallots – sliced
3 cloves garlic – crushed
2 tomatoes – cut into 8 segments each
5 thin slices of galangal (ginza) – skin removed
300g small-medium sized mushrooms – cut in half or quarters into small chunks
20 green birds-eye chillies – cut in half lengthways
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons lime juice
A handful of chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. First, prepare the prawns. Wash, peel and de-vein the prawns, keeping the shells and heads.
  2. Put the shells and heads into a pan with the water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10-15 minutes, you should notice a smear of oil floating on top. Strain the stock, squeezing out the flavour from the prawn peelings.
  3. Return the stock to the pan and bring back to the boil.
  4. Bruise the lemongrass in a pestle and mortar, then add to the stock with the kaffir lime leaves and mushrooms.
  5. Add the shallots, garlic, tomatoes and galangal and bring to the boil again.
  6. Add the chillies to the stock with the fish sauce.
  7. Cook the stock gently for 2 minutes, then add the prawns. Bring back to the boil and simmer until they have just changed colour.
  8. Turn off the heat.
  9. Remove from the heat, transfer into a serving bowl if required.
  10. Finally, just before serving stir in the lime juice and garnish with coriander.

It's important to stir in the lime juice right before serving, and not whilst it's still on the heat, as this keeps the flavour fresh.

Serve with fresh steamed thai fragrant rice

Cooks Notes:
Tom Yum is usually made very spicy.
You can adjust the levels to your taste, for example to reduce the heat you could use less chillies, consider removing seeds from the chillies if you only like a very mild spice. Leaving them whole also keeps the heat mild, or try bruising whole chillies lightly with a pestle and mortar to release some flavour but allow them to be easily picked out of the finished dish.
On the other hand, slicing the chillies lets out a lot of the flavour and the balance of hot, salty and sour in this dish is unbelievable. You can still avoid eating the half chillies if you like!

Thai cooks use straw mushrooms in tom yum soup and other cooking. Straw mushrooms are available in the UK in tins – watch out though, they are usually stored in brine and will need to be very well drained and rinsed. Remember to cut the mushrooms in half – they have an air pocket inside and this also fills with brine, so rinse them again to ensure the extra salt doesn't ruin your dish!
I've not seen any fresh straw mushrooms here in Edinburgh, but they'd be worth trying if you can get them. The best bet is to buy fresh mushrooms of any kind – I prefer to use brown cap mushrooms, or another closed cup variety because large flat mushrooms make sauces and soups go brown. Other fresh mushrooms such as oyster or shitake also work well.
No fresh mushrooms? Dried mushrooms make a great substitute, especially shitake. Soak in boiling water until soft (about an hour), drain, chop and add to the broth as usual. You can reserve the mushroom liquor for use in risottos or as a mushroom stock. Seal and keep in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays, store in bags and pop into pasta sauces, gravies, soups etc.

Variations:
You can use any meat – chicken, pork, beef, fish, or for vegetarians mixed mushrooms, baby corn or tofu (and switch fish sauce for soy sauce).
Use a home made chicken stock for the best flavoured broth. Be careful of using bought stock cubes as they will add extra (unnecessary) salt to the dish – diluting twice as much as recommended should help.
Chicken and pork take a bit longer to cook, so add the raw meat after step 5 (before adding the chillies) and simmer until just cooked, then add chillies, fish sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Check the meat, when it's cooked through, remove the pan from the heat and finish the dish with lime juice and coriander.

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Comments»

1. Sam - 20 July 2006

I’ve just started cooking thai food here in Edinburgh – where are you doing your shopping? I’m still trying to find thai basil,shallots, fresh galangal, lime leaves and whole coriander!

2. cath - 20 July 2006

Here is my list of good shops to try in Edinburgh:

Shopping for Thai Ingredients in Edinburgh

I tend to go to Leith Walk, as there are a couple of good Chinese Supermarkets to choose from – their supplies are not always the same!

Hope you find what you’re looking for…

3. norris hall - 9 April 2009

Try this Thai cooking website.
http://www.thaifoodtonight.com
It’s got about 30 recipes each one with a cooking video to go along.


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