I do not think i need much introduction to this iconic Thai Soup, Tom Yum soup.. As usual, I liked to refer to Wiki’s definition on worldwide famous cuisines such that the recipe does not deviate much from the authentic version. Per Wikipedia,
“Tom yum (rtgs: tom yam, Thai: ต้มยำ, [tôm.jām] is a Thai soup, usually cooked with shrimp. Tom yum is widely served in countries neighbouring Thailand, such as Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore, and has become popular around the world. Literally, the name “tom yam” derives from two Thai words: “tom” and “yam”. “Tom” refers to the boiling process, while “yam” refers to a Thai spicy and sour salad. Indeed, tom yum has distinct hot and sour flavours, with fragrant spices and herbs generously used in the broth. The basic broth comprises stock and fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed chili peppers.” (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_yum)
Obviously, the attractiveness of this soup is its tanginess and spiciness making it a very appetizing soup. I have eaten two types of tom yum soup, one is a very clear soup (Tom yum goong nam sai ต้มยำกุ้งน้ำใส) ) and another is the milky soup (Tom yum goong nam khon ต้มยำกุ้งน้ำข้น ). Personally, I prefer the clear soup as it is less oily and it is also this clear yet sour and spicy distinction that captured my attention. Well, the preparation is just a step difference by adding some milk.
If you are using the name Tom Yum Goong, you must use prawns as the main or sole ingredients because goong (กุ้ง) in Thai means prawns. But you can add many other types of meat or seafood.. Because my girl did not like prawns, I have added chicken breast and also some squid which is optional. Usually mushrooms are added. I saw restaurants most used straw mushrooms but instead of using canned mushrooms, I have decided to use fresh beech mushrooms and oyster mushrooms.
For this recipe, you need a Thai chilli sauce (nam prik phao) if you want it extremely spicy. However, this is optional as bruise the bird eye chilli will make it extremely spicy. I do not know where to purchase this chilli in Singapore, I have therefore used my homemade chilli sauce. Possibly in Singapore, Golden Mile Complex may have sell.
There are many types of tom yum paste or seasoning in the market. What I am sharing is a recipe from scratch. Don’t worry, this recipe is extremely simple and all the ingredients are easily obtained at the supermarket. Some supermarkets even have a prepack herbs for tom yum soup. Well, the most important 3 ingredients are lemon grass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves. These three hardly have any alternatives but for others such as Thai lime juice, you can always use vinegar instead..
As for the milk, authentic recipe uses evaporated milk since I do not intend to buy a big can of evaporated milk, I used coconut milk instead. I have also read recipes that uses full cream milk instead.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 3-4 adult servings
- 500 rams – 1 kg of of big prawns
- 300 grams of chicken breast meat (optional)
- 1 pack of oyster mushrooms
- 1 pack of beech mushrooms
Herbs, seasonings and others
- 10 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 small galangal
- 5 lemon grass
- 5 bird eye chilli , bruised
- 5 coriander roots (optional)
- 2 Thai limes
- 2 tablespoons of Thai chilli sauce (nam prik phao)
- 3 tablespoons of fish sauce
- Chicken stock powder to taste
- Salt to taste
- 2 sprigs of coriander
- 1/2 cup of evaporated milk or coconut milk or fresh milk
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- You can either shelled and de-veined the prawns or keep the heads on depending on your preference. If you shelled the prawns, keep all the prawn heads and prawn shells.
- Cut the chicken into cubes, slice the galangal, bruise the bulb of the lemon grass, slice the mushrooms and extract the juice of Thai lime. Set aside.
- Put about 2 litres of water and boil the prawn shells and heads for at least 30 minutes to extract the prawn stock. Drain and set aside.
- Put the galangal, coriander roots and lemon grass onto the prawn stock. Bring to the stock to boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium. Let it simmer for at least 15-20 minutes for the flavour to develop. Add the chicken cubes and mushrooms, bring to boil . Let it continue to simmer for 5 minutes until the mushrooms get soft.
- Once it boils again, add the squids and prawns and let it boil for another minute. Off the heat and add kaffir lime leaves, lime juices, fish sauce, salt and chicken stock powder. The clear soup version is ready to be served.
- If you wish to have the creamy version, before adding the prawns, add the Thai chilli sauce and milk and let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the squid and prawns and let it boil for another minute. Off the heat and add kaffir lime leaves, lime juices, fish sauce, salt and chicken stock powder. The creamy version of the soup is ready to be served.
Is it not this is a very simple recipe that can be easily prepare at home? Why pay for a premium if the ingredients are readily available .. As for the side ingredients, the choice is yours. What is most important is if you used the name Tom Yum Goong, you must used goong or prawns in Thai. Otherwise, just name it as Tom Yum soup.
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