June 18, 2010

Tom Yum Soup

My family has always been adventurous eaters. We love trying new places, new foods, and are always willing to push the limits. I remember ordering a pizza with anchovies on it because none of us had ever tried it. I think the pizza parlor was so excited to get rid of it they covered every inch of that pizza in those little canned fishies. We do stuff like that. We love it.

About 15 years ago my mom told us some of her fellow employees introduced her to a restaurant that served delicious Thai food. At that time I don't know if I could have told you where Thailand was on a map. This was long before Thai restaurants became big and when people thought asian food consisted of Panda Express and egg rolls at TGI Fridays. I don't really remember what we ate, but I do remember my dad eating a soup that had octupus in it and he was sweating because it was so hot (oh, that's another thing with our family, we like it spicy!) Since then, we were hooked. When we were in the area we had to stop for a bite. We still try something new each time we go, but we almost always order Tom Yum Soup.

This is what Hannah and I request when we are sick, this is our comfort food, our Chicken Noodle Soup.  And now, we know how to make it. It is delicious. It is simples, but does have some odd ingredients - but Asian markets are easier to find then they were 10 years ago. If you live in the Provo area, email me and I can tell you where I found my stuff.

Tom Yum Soup
8 cups chicken broth
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, sliced on a bias in 2-inch pieces
4 kaffir lime leaves
1-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
2-3 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 (8-ounce) can straw mushrooms, rinse
1 pound shrimp, peeled with tails on
2 limes, juiced
3 green onions, sliced
1 large handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Bring the broth to the boil over medium heat in a stock pot. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Uncover and add the fish sauce (yes, it stinks bad, but it will make such a difference for good in the soup), sugar, and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes. Toss in the shrimp and cook for about 8 minutes until they turn pink. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, green onions, cilantro. Taste to make sure there is an even balance of salty, sweet, savory, and sour - the beauty of thai dishes.  Serve with a lime wedge. There is a lot of flavor items in this that you shouldn't eat - the kaffir leaves and lemongrass especially. I don't eat the ginger and the shrimp tails either.
Serves about 6-8. 

Lemon grass, kaffir leaves, and ginger freeze very well - if you can only find more than you need, just save it for later. Trust me - you're going to want more!
To cut your lemon grass - cut off the drier tips and the root. Throw those away then slice the remaining.
If you have a question about how to use the products - most Asian market owners are so happy to answer questions (if they speak English).


Hannah said...

I love this soup. Eating fun foods is another reason I am going to miss you.

Steph said...

I will have to try this. My hubby and kids would LOVE it.