Did you know that Tom Yum soup is claimed to have immune boosting properties? So not only is it great comfort food for wet and gloomy days, it also helps you fight off cold and flu viruses! Tom Yum soup is one of the most popular dishes in Thai cuisine - and it should be very, very spicy. You’ve probably ordered Tom Yum soup at Thai restaurants. You may even have cooked it at home with a ready-made Tom Yum paste. Here I’m cooking the soup from scratch, including the soup base and Thai chilli jam (Nam Prik Pao).
Makes enough for two
4 cups of Asian chicken stock
2 lemongrass stalks, bruised to release aroma
3 galangal, peeled and cut into thick slices
3 kaffir lime leaves, stalks removed
2 Tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon Nam Prik Pao (recipe below)
1 cup of mushrooms (e.g. straw, oyster or shittake), sliced
6 large prawns, peeled and de-veined
Fresh chilli (to taste), crushed or chopped
What to do
Pour stock in large pot, add lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves, and boil for 5mins until fragrant.
Reduce heat to simmer, and stir in fish sauce, lime juice, mushrooms and Nam Prik Pao. Simmer for another 5mins, then add prawns.
When prawns turn pink, remove from heat and ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with chilli and coriander on top before serving.
The prawns can be substituted for chicken, fish or any other seafood. If you want a milder soup, you can omit the Nam Prik Pao and chilli, or add some coconut milk to the soup. Serve with steamed rice or plain rice noodles for a complete meal.
Nam Prik Pao
You can buy Nam Prik Pao from specialty Asian grocers, or alternatively cook up a batch yourself. Besides adding it to Tom Yum soup, it can also be added to fried rice or other stir fried dishes for an extra kick of flavour.
Quarter cup of vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
Dried red chillis, 50% de-seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon shrimp paste
2 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 Tablespoon palm sugar
2 Tablespoon tamarind paste (optional)
Quarter cup of water
What to do
Heat half the oil in pan on medium-high, add garlic, shallots and fry until golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat dry pan and roast chillis until fragrant and crispy. Remove from heat and grind chillis, garlic and shallots into a paste.
Heat remaining oil in pan on low heat, add chilli paste, shrimp paste, fish sauce, sugar and water. Stir well and simmer for 15mins until sugar has dissolved and you get a jam-like consistency. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.