Until I worked with Thai chefs I thought Tom Yum soup was Tom Yum soup. There are actually many variations; all different and delicious in their own way. Now here’s a quick Thai lesson as I see it:
Tom Kha = Creamy soup (coconut cream or evaporated milk)
Tom Yum = Clear soup
Gai = Chicken
Goong = Prawns
Talay = Seafood
Here is my recipe for my favorite Thai soup, Tom Kha Goong, or spicy prawn and lemongrass soup with coconut and mushrooms. Feel free to use chicken stock but I actually prefer to shell the prawns and use the heads and shells to make my own prawn stock.
Tom Kha Goong
Thai prawn, coconut and lemongrass spicy soup
800ml Chicken Stock (or prawn stock)
2 sticks Lemongrass
3-4 Fresh red chilli
100g Straw mushroom (canned is still ok)
100g punnet Cherry tomatoes
1knob ginger (or galangal)
2-4 Limes (juice)
Fish sauce (nam pla) - to taste
1/2 bunch Coriander
200ml Coconut cream (or evaporated milk)
6 Kaffir lime leaves
Peel and slice the ginger, slice the garlic and slice the lemongrass and chilli (reserve some chilli for garnish).
Pound lightly the kaffir lime leaves with your knife handle to release some of the oils.
Bring the stock to the simmer and add the ginger, garlic, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and chilli. Infuse for 15-20 minutes. Halve the mushrooms and add to the soup with the whole cherry tomatoes and prawns and gently cook until the prawns are just done.
Add the coconut cream.
Season with some fish sauce and lime juice and a little sugar if you like.
Transfer to bowls and finish with some of the reserved chilli and coriander.
MacLean Fraser http://macleanfraser.com/
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