I've always been a massive fan of Tom Yum and when I lived in London I practically lived off it as it was quick and my kitchen time was low in a shared flat with a tiiiiny kitchen. Over the years I've cultivated my own version the classic Tom Yum recipe to incorporate a few more veg and some of the nutrients that I like to include in my diet but also to work more as a quick fix main than a side or starter. This is a powerhouse of a broth - ginger, garlic and galangal are amazing anti inflammatories and the extra veg is a nutrient bonus. I tend to make this recipe off the cuff when I've not really had much time to think about it, like today, so there's only a photograph of the end result - it was getting late and the light was fast going south.
You can double, triple or quadruple the paste and keep some sealed in the fridge, you can also buy Tom Yum paste from your local asian supermarket - watch out for ingredients though, some Tom Yum pastes include monosodium glutamate and you don't want to be eating that.
You can adapt this recipe, adding in other veg you have left over - though i haven't included it in the recipe I had some spring onions that needed eating so I whacked them in. I used white mushrooms here but oyster mushrooms work better. You can use prawns or chicken, there's also nothing to say you can't swap for pork of beef either.
This recipe will work for one main or two side/starters.
For the paste
- one red chilli, roughly chopped
- 3 thick slices of fresh ginger
- 3 thick slices of galangal
- one garlic clove
- small handful of coriander leaves
- good glug of Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce)
- 1/4 stick of lemongrass, trimmed and sliced
- juice of one lemon or lime (or less if you're not so keen)
For the soup
- 1/2 pint chicken stock
- 1 quick squeeze of agave syrup
- medium size free range chicken breast, sliced or diced OR a couple of good handfuls of king prawns
- 4 oyster mushrooms
- 1 carrot sliced
- 4 baby corn sliced lengthways
- rest of your stick of lemongrass sliced
- half a handful of coriander
Put all your paste ingredients in a jug and use a hand blender to produce a paste and set aside. If using chicken, brown slightly in a medium sized saucepan and then stir in most of your paste (you can add the rest later to taste) and the agave syrup. Add your stock and simmer for a few minutes. Now add your vegetables apart from the baby corn and coriander. Simmer again covered for another 3 mins and then add the rest of your ingredients (also have a little taste to see if you'd like to add more paste). If you're using prawns add them here too. Simmer again for another 2 mins and your soup is ready to go when cool enough for your mouth - pour it into a large ramen bowl or in lieu of one, a large bowl will suffice.
Don't be afraid to pick the bowl up and drink from the side of it, have some napkins handy though. The broth is deceivingly filling so take it slow!
Formally Emma Gutteridge