Sorry folks, we have been busy traveling and hosting guests for the past few weeks. We went up to visit James in Portland for his birthday and my niece Robyn came down by train from Vancouver B.C. to join us for a few days. Once we returned to Medford, we were joined by John and Cindy, our neighbors in Wisconsin for a week. So we are just getting back in the groove.
We were both craving soup, so last night I made Tom Yum Goong. The recipe calls for some authentic Thai ingredients, but you can substitute for them. You can use Ginger in place of Galangal. I used Chili Garlic Paste in place of Nam Phrik Pao. We could not find Thai chilies, so I used some dried red chilies instead. Things you should not leave out though are the lemongrass and the Kaffir lime leaves, they give the Tom Yum it’s characteristic flavor. Try this soup and serve it with some rice vermicelli at the bottom of the bowl!
4 stalks Lemongrass
6 leaves Kaffir lime
5 pieces Galangal, peeled and sliced thinly
1 pound Shrimp, unpeeled
8 ounces mushrooms, optional
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons green onion, sliced 1/4″
2 tablespoons cilantro, coarsely chopped
5 pods Thai chilies, optional
3 tablespoons Nam Phrik Pao
1/2 cup coconut milk, optional
3 tomatoes, quartered optional
1 package rice noodles
1. FOR SOUP: Peel and devein shrimp reserving shells.
2. In a Dutch oven, bring stock to a boil. Tie shrimp shells in a cheese cloth sack. Add shells to boiling broth.
3. Crush lemongrass with a mallet and cut them down to 2 – 3 inches. Cut diagonal slits in lemongrass leaving them whole.
4. Tear Kaffir leaves. Using cheese cloth and string, create a bouquet garni with the lemongrass stalks, Kaffir leaves and the galangal slices.
5. Add the bouquet garni to the pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Season the soup with fish sauce and additional salt to taste. Remove the shrimp shells but leave the bouquet garni.
7. Increase heat to high and add the shrimp and mushrooms and tomatoes if using. Bring to a boil then take it off the heat.
8. Add Nam Phrik Pao, crushed chilies (if using), lime juice (to taste), and coconut milk if using. Just before serving remove bouquet garni and add green onion and cilantro.
9. Serve with white rice or rice noodles.
10. FOR NOODLES: Boil water. Place noodles in a strainer inside a larger bowl. Pour boiling water over noodles until covered and let sit for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Remove colander and rinse with cool water briefly. Separate the noodles now or they will stick together. Place in serving bowl and ladle soup over.