Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tom Yum Soup

Tom Yum is one of my personal favorite soups. I put a batch together yesterday at work and did a little research on it as well....

Aside from being one of the most popular soups in Thailand, Tom Yum Soup has many health benefits, due to its potent combination of herbs and spices. In fact, this Thai soup is currently under scientific study, as it appears to have immune-boosting power as a natural remedy for cold and flu viruses.

There are a ton of recipes online as you could imagine so let me share with you my version which has a few more ingredients than others. Working out of a restaurant pantry is very accommodating. On the other hand if you have not been to an Asian market in a while maybe this is the inspiration that you need?

Mike's Tom Yum Soup

Part One Veg

one small onion, equal parts carrot and celery

two stalks lemon grass, equal parts ginger

six cloves of garlic

half cup mushroom stems

one heaping teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


three quarts chicken stock, stir in one teaspoon corn starch

one cup coconut milk

zest of one lime

one quarter cup brown sugar

one quarter cup tomato paste or 6 ripe roma tomato. If using ripe tomato then put into Part Two Veg.

Part Two Veg

one cup shitake mushrooms

one cup thinly sliced chicken meat

tablespoon cilantro

mixture of equal parts lime juice, soy sauce and fish sauce, about one tablespoon each

The glaring omission is Kaffir Lime Leaf. It is a constant in most other Tom Yum soup recipes, and I've followed such recipes. In my opinion it's optional at best. I'm guessing the lime leafs fresh off the tree in Thailand are very different from the graying frozen nasty bits I find at the Asian grocery.

To get started cooking take all the produce from Part One Veg and rough chop it then sauté in oil until fragrant. Add the Liquids making sure to stir cornstarch into cold liquid. Simmer this for about an hour then strain. This is your basic broth. When you want to complete the process add the first three items from Part Two Veg and bring to a boil. Add the lime mixture last, off the heat and adjust seasoning.

Notice that there is no call for salt, we leave that for the soy and fish sauce at the end. Also, there is the trinity of flavors, hot, sweet, and sour from the chili flakes, brown sugar, and lime. This is what Tom Yum is known for.

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