Spicy, hot and sour. This Thai soup tantalizes every taste bud. I enjoy mine with whole prawns cooked in their shells – this gives the soup a beautiful fragrant sweetness. I can honestly eat Tom Yum soup in the heat of summer and the chill of winter. It’s one of those soups that refresh and comfort at the same time. I’ve spent a good while perfecting my interpretation of Tom Yum soup and I think I’ve finally developed one that is bang on! I’d love to hear what you think?
What you’ll need
3 c (750 ml) good quality or freshly made chicken stock
2-3 lemon grass stalks, bruised and thinly sliced
½ a handful of coriander roots or stems, bruised (keep the leaves for later)
4 kaffir lime leaves
5 thick slices of galangal or fresh ginger
1 fat clove garlic, chopped
1 heaped T (+- 20 ml) chopped red chilli paste
8 large prawns with shells intact, cleaned and deveined
2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and cut into bite size pieces
125 g button mushrooms, quartered
3 t (45 ml) fish sauce
¼ c (60 ml) lime or lemon juice
zest of 2 limes
1 T (15 m) brown sugar or grated palm sugar
2 red chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 green chillies, seeds removed and finely chopped
Garnish fresh coriander
What you’ll do
In a medium pot, add the stock, lemon grass, coriander, lime leaves, galangal, garlic and chilli paste. Remove the heads off the cleaned prawns and add to the stock mixture. Turn up the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes. Remove the prawn heads (optional). Add the prawns tails and remaining ingredients and simmer until prawns are cooked – no more than 2 minutes. Season to taste with more fish sauce or lime juice and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve immediately.
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Carey Boucher Erasmus is a food writer, photographer, recipe developer and restaurant consultant.
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