I only have one regret about our trip to Thailand: that I did not discover this soup until two days before we left.
Our last two days were spent in an area called Korat, where we had the opportunity to teach English to schoolchildren (more about this here). Our translators, knowing the area well, suggested we walk to a restaurant that was close to our hotel for dinner.
These girls recommended the eatery, and none of us were disappointed (they always chose the best dishes on the menu):
I have made it several times at home, and have tweeked it to fit our personal taste. It’s a super simple recipe and the flavors are awesome! It can be very spicy, so this is not for the faint at heart.
Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot & Sour Soup)
6 cups veggie stock (see my post about making your own)
3 TBS Tom Yum Paste
4 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed
5 stalks of lemon grass, finely chopped (see here for instructions on how to do this)
4 kaffir lime leaves
6-8 ounces of fresh mushrooms, any kind (we used baby portabellas)
3-sh TBS fresh lime juice
2 Thai chiles, chopped finely (or more or less to taste)
1 bundle fresh cilantro
fish sauce, optional
My version is vegetarian, although you could easily add fish of any kind (like the authentic Thai version I ate), chicken or tofu. Also, I think a bit of coconut milk would be delicious in this.
I bought a giant bag of Thai chiles, a bag of kaffir lime leaves and my lemongrass at a local Asian market. I am sure the prices were cheaper than a regular grocery store too. The chiles have stored well in my fridge for weeks now and the lime leaves I keep in my freezer along with the lemongrass.
1. Bring the stock to a boil, then add Tom Yum paste and garlic. Mix well.
2. Let simmer for about 2-5 minutes, then add the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
3. Add the chiles (I wash them and then using scissors, cut tiny pieces directly into the saucepan. This eliminates getting hot pepper juice all over the cutting board and my hands) and the mushrooms. Simmer until the texture of the mushrooms are to your liking.
3. Throw cilantro (you can also use a mix of cilantro and Thai basil or just the basil) in at the very end and dish into bowls. Add fish sauce if you like.
The great thing about this recipe is that it is flexible. You can add more veggies like broccoli, carrots, squash or bell peppers-anything you like! One of my favorite quick meals lately is to throw lime leaves in broth along with a few chiles, some chopped greens and rice or ramen noodles. Kimchi is lovely to throw in the bowl with it too! This broth makes a great base. I have become a bit obssessd with the lime leaves. I will keep a baggy on-hand from now on!
I can’t believe that we are already on the heels of Fall! Do any of you have a quick and easy soup recipe that makes it to your home menu often? I’d love to hear about it.