Tom yum or Thai Hot and Sour Soup is now a firm favourite in the west also. Its fresh, vibrant flavour acts as an instant pick-me-up at any time of the day, summer or winter, and best of all it’s packed with vitamin-rich ingredients.
Tom yum comes in two main varieties, both normally made using prawn or shrimp (goong); the clear tom yam goong nam sai and the cloudy tom yam goong nam khon,which is finished with coconut milk. If making the cloudy version simply add the coconut milk in the final 2 minutes of cooking.
Although prawns are traditionally used in this recipe any meat or fish can be used. Mussels, scallops and chicken work particularly well.
The heat of the soup can be adjusted by adding more of the sweet and sour elements (sugar and lemon juice). These will help tone down the heat. Alternatively, add more chillies for a fiery kick.
If making the cloudy coconut version (tom yum goong nam khon) the broth will naturally be less fiery, so you may want to adjust in the opposite direction!
- Method :
- For nam prik pow: Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan until melted. Add the garlic and fry until golden brown and beginning to smell nutty. Remove using a slotted spoon and set aside.
- In the same pan, fry the shallot until golden and crisp, remove and set aside (as with the garlic).
- Finally, add the chilies to the coconut oil and fry until they begin to darken in colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. RETAIN THE PAN OF OIL.
- In a pestle and mortar, or spice grinder, crush the dried prawn before adding the chillies. Work to a dry pulp. Add the garlic, work that in, and then add the shallot. Work everything together thoroughly.
- Place the pan of coconut oil over a medium heat, add the blended ingredients and cook whilst stirring to create a paste.
- Add the fish sauce and sugar, mix, and remove from the heat. You should be left with a slightly oily, sauce-like paste. It is now ready to use. *the nam prik pow can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.
- For Tom yum: Heat the stock in a saucepan and add the nam prik pow. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
- Add the lime leaves, lemongrass, lemon juice, nam pla, chillies and sugar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and allow to cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Serve immediately.