Get ready to be barraged with Thai recipes! Per popular demand (my friends who tasted this recipe) I will post the Shrimp Tom Yum recipe first.
I had actually never attempted to make this recipe before yesterday, so as a first-try recipe I was exceptionally pleased at the results. The inspiration for this dish is too wide a mish-mash of various websites and recipes to give anyone specific credit.
I think a lot of people are intimidated to cook Thai food at home. The real key with Thai cooking is acquiring all the correct ingredients. Once you have your ingredients, the method for cooking is surprisingly simple. It’s mostly a matter of balancing the saltiness of the fish sauce, with the tang of citrus or tamarind, plus some sugar and, of course, spice! It’s definitely a taste-as-you-go type of cooking method, which I love (baking is the worst.. ) That being said- my personal tastes are reflected in these recipes and I confess that I am a spiciness weakling… thus, feel free to adjust the recipe per your preference for heat.
The other thing I should mention is that a lot of the ingredients for this recipe will probably require a trip to an Asian market. If you don’t have access to an Asian market I’ll try to post some substitution options, but the flavors are definitely not going to be as authentic. Kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass are pretty crucial for this recipe, so I’d recommend doing your best to acquire these specific ingredients.
For a little background- Tom Yum is basically the Thai take on hot and sour soup. It is one of the most popular Thai dishes at most Thai restaurants. Typically it’s served with some variety of protein- either shrimp or chicken- however I’m sure you could make a tasty vegetarian option with tofu or vegetables. The stock is typically derived from chicken or fish stock, with the addition of various fragrant herbs to achieve the classic Tom Yum flavor.
Enjoy these images that were selected for your viewing pleasure:
Prepping the Thai aromatics. This is all the stuff you’re going to simmer in the stock-pot: Lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves, galangal root, and garlic (not pictured)
Pretty limes! So you do have the option of using lime juice rather than lemon juice for the stock. You will be squeezing limes for hours if you decide to use fresh limes, but I’m sure the results will be amazing. I was saving these for garnishing all the different Thai recipes so decided to forgo the fresh option and used packaged lemon juice, which worked out just fine. If I were to repeat this experiment, I would probably find some way to attach all the herbs together, i.e. cheescloth, for easier herb-extraction.
Finishing the soup with cilantro.
Look at that beautiful bowl of Tom Yum! Second shot, just for good measure. Mmm shrimps.
- 2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 4 stalks lemongrass, peeled, ends chopped off
- 15-20 Kaffir Lime leaves, roughly chopped or torn
- 2 inch piece of galangal root (may substitute ginger)
- 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1/2 cup fish sauce (to taste)
- 3/4 cup lemon juice (to taste)
- 20-30 large raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined, tails on
- 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced (alternatively you may use 1 can straw mushrooms)
- 1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 1 Tablespoons Nam Prik Pao, chili sauce (to taste)
- Pour chicken stock and water into large stock pot over medium-high heat. Bruise lemongrass with mallet to release its flavor. Add lemongrass, Kaffir Lime Leaves, garlic and galangal to the pot. (Note: You may have to bend the lemon grass, or chop into smaller pieces to fit.)
- Cover and simmer on medium low for about 15- 20 minutes.
- Remove the aromatics from the pot ,or simply strain liquid into another stock-pot, removing the solids. Next, add fish sauce, lemon juice, and Nam Prik Pao to stock. Stir until well-combined. Taste and adjust salty/sour/spicy flavors per your preference.
- Bring liquid to a simmer and add mushrooms. Allow mushrooms to cook through.
- Finally, add shrimp. This needs to be done at the very end to avoid over-cooking the shrimp. Plan for 8-10 minutes before planning to serve.
- Stir in cilantro at the very end.
- Garnish with extra Kaffir lime leaves and a wedge of lime.