I love Thai food and have influenced my boys into loving it as well. Tom yum, a hot and sour soup, is a favorite though it took years before I fell in love with coriander. Ages ago, I would never eat anything with this herb that stinks big time like a ladybug. Now I garnish my salad and soup with lots and love it so much. I’m happy my boy likes it, too. (But I pay more attention to the amount of galangal I add.)
It took me a lot of courage to finally try cooking this dish, even prepped fusion seafood versions before, but my first attempt was quite successful my boy finished it to the last drop. Now we can have it anytime we like.
I’d like to cook tom yum at home as authentic as I can but of course I can’t make it too hot and sometimes struggles to find some of the ingredients. If I can’t find shallots, I use red onions or just ordinary onions. Can’t find fresh kaffir lime leaves, I opt for dried ones. Nevertheless, I think the outcome is still stunning.
- 250g medium-sized raw prawns
- 2½ cups of water (or chicken broth)
- 2 lemongrass stalks, ends cut, outer layer removed, cut into 2″ pieces and smashed lightly
- 6 dried kaffir lime leaves
- Half a thumb of fresh galangal, sliced thinly
- 1 medium size onion, whole with skin removed and smashed lightly
- 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
- 1 tbsp coriander roots
- ½ cup straw mushrooms, halved
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp patis or more (fish sauce)
- 2 tbsp lime juice or more
- 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing
- 3 roasted dry chili (roast in a dry wok over medium heat until browned and fragrant, or use smashed fresh red chilies)
- Remove prawn heads; don’t discard the fat on at the base of the head. Peel the prawns leaving tails intact, and devein. Set aside heads, shells and legs.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a deep pan. Add the prawn shells, heads and legs and cook for about 10 minutes. Crush heads and toss frequently over medium heat until deep orange. Add water and bring to boil. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Strain, reserve the stock, and discard heads and shells.
- Return the stock to the pan and bring to boil. Throw in the kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, coriander roots, galangal, onion, tomato and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the soup smells herbal. Add a pinch of salt and throw in the prawns. Cook for a minute or until the prawns turn pink/orangey.
- Turn off heat. Season with lime juice and fish sauce (and brown sugar if you like). Add the chilies (smashed or chopped, depends on how spicy you want) and fresh coriander.
- Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with more coriander leaves, and serve hot.