This week's theme for iheatcookingclubs is Sustaining Soups and Stews. Having failed to participate the last two weeks in a row was making me feel guilty and so I made sure I participate this week and cooked up this delicious soup. Our featured chef Nigella Lawson calls this soup Hot and Sour Soup and it is hot and sour. This is a very popular Thai soup also called "Tom Yum" in Thai language. I am already very familiar with this soup since I lived in Thailand. I did look at Nigella Lawson's recipe but added a few things such as the galangal root (aka Blue Ginger, picture shown above left) and culantro leaves. Here is her recipe from food network.
6 1/2 cups chicken stock (I made shrimp stock and used that instead)
1 heaping tablespoon tom yam hot and sour paste
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped, optional (or use lime zest if it's easier)
1 stalk lemongrass, bottom, inner part only, roughly chopped
1 lime, juiced
4 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
2 to 3 small jalapenos or fresh red or green chilies, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons, straw or button mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 pound (2-ounce) peeled, raw shrimp
5 (1-inch) pieces small scallions, sliced thin
1 bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
In a medium saucepan, heat chicken stock, tom yam paste, lime leaves, lemon grass, lime juice, fish sauce, chilies, and sugar. Once it has come to a boil, add mushrooms and simmer for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and scallions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes allowing the shrimp to cook but still be tender. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately. Place extra cilantro on the table for people to add more.
Tom yum paste can be found easily in any Asian grocery store or online. Also, can be made from scratch but I'll save that for another post. :)
Shrimp is often used but chicken, fish or mixed seafood is also delicious!
Making shrimp stock using the shrimp shells/ and or heads is easy. Just boil with some water and salt.
Herbs are very important to get the wonderful flavour of this soup. Culantro is also a good herb to add besides cilantro, green onions, and lime leaves. I remember having to go cut lemongrass and pick some lime leaves for my mom from our yard when she made this back home.
I used babybella mushrooms today but the best is fresh straw mushrooms which I cannot get easily here. The second choice is oyster mushrooms. Mix different mushrooms for more flavor and fun!
Serve this with Jasmine rice and other Asian dishes or as an appetizer before main course. Also can make it in a big hotpot family style!!