This is one of my favorite soups in the world, its great in summer or winter, sweet, sour and salty in flavour, its so addictive you find yourself wanting to pick up the bowl and gulp it down like a mug of coffee.
This soup originates from Thailand, is spicy and clear normally with coriander, vegetables and prawns / shrimps bathing in the bottom of the bowl. It is a stock base using Thai flavourings like lemongrass, lime leaves, chilli, lime juice and ginger (galangal). There are many different varieties influenced by all the surrounding Thai countries as well as versions made using a tom yum paste purchased from Asian supermarkets which is the version I made as it's much quicker and easier to find than shopping for all the ingredients in the paste and I would say just as tasty. I will however provide a basic tom yum paste recipe in case you prefer.
Tom Yum Goong
6 cups chicken stock (home made is best but cubes and powders will work too, vegetable stock is good too)
2 sticks lemon grass, outer layers peeled and bruise with your knife
2 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
1 thumb sized piece of ginger sliced
1 shallot, sliced
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 tin straw mushrooms (may be replaced with shitake or button mushroom)
1 chilli, bruised (optional depending on heat tolerance)
2 shrimp per person, peeled and veined
pinch of salt
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp tom yum paste
1 tbsp lime juice
2 cherry tomatoes per person
1 bunch enoki mushrooms (may be replaced with bean sprouts)
Flavour the stock by heating it with the lemon grass, lime leaves, ginger, shallot, tomatoes, tom yum paste, add chilli for more heat.
Once infused with flavour by simmering for 10 minutes, remove the flavourings from the stock.
Cook the shrimp in the stock, at the last minute add the fish sauce, lime juice, cherry tomatoes, enoki mushrooms, straw mushrooms and coriander. These final ingredients may be added to each bowl and the hot stock poured over individually.
Balance the flavours with the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar if necessary.
This dish may be made vegetarian, just omit the shrimp, add vegetable stock and add more vegetables like mange tout and baby corn.
Tom Yum Paste
Makes 1 cup
2 sticks lemongrass, chopped
1 thumb of ginger, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 red chillies, chopped
1/2 cup chopped coriander, leaves and stalks
3 spring onions , chopped
2 limes juices
1 tsp shrimp paste
1tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
Place everything in a blender and blitz until smooth, add a dash of water if necessary.
This paste may also be used for: marinading meat or fish, flavouring soups, adding to mussel pots, making sauces and adding flavour to vegetables.
Pictures and article copyright by Tamsyn Wells