Friday, February 10, 2006

Tom Yum soup base

One very strange fact about me is that I do not like soup. Up until a few years ago I wouldn't eat any soups at all. Now I will eat one or two Thai soups and at least one Chinese soup but I still dislike soups. The only soup I really eat, Tom Yum Koong, is one of my favorite foods. Kind of odd for someone who doesn't like soup, huh?

I've tried many canned versions and many restaurant versions. The restaurant versions are almost always good but I haven't really liked any of the canned versions (not surprising..they are canned). So last night I decided to make my own. I had some stock leftover from poaching chicken for my Chinese Chicken Salad so I went from there.

Since the Thai cookbook I own isn't very authentic I knew to skip my cookbooks and go straight for the internet. I found several different recipes from Thai websites and decided I would just make my own.

I took the leftover chicken stock (about 2-3 cups) and added another 2 cups of water, about 10 thin slices of ginger, leftover stalks of lemongrass from my lemongrass chicken dish, lime zest (still don't have kaffir lime leaves), a chicken breast tender (for more chicken flavor and to add later in the soup), and 6 Thai chilies.

I simmered this mixture for about an hour but removed the chicken breast after 25 minutes so that it wouldn't be dry.

Then I strained the mixture, returned it to my pot, and added a few peeled and deveined shrimp which I cooked for a little over a minute (I didn't have any mushrooms but if I were making this for anyone besides myself I would make sure it had mushrooms). I then stirred in 4 T. fish sauce, 4 T. lime juice, and 3 t. (one recipe called for 3 T.) of chili paste.

When I tasted the soup I was shocked at how unbearably hot it was. I have a high tolerance for [spicy] heat but this was too much. Fortunately, when dilluted with water it is perfect. So now I actually have more soup than I planned since I can use this as a soup base. I just add shredded chicken or shrimp and cilantro to garnsih.

My husband was teasing me this morning that I'm the only person he's ever heard of eating a spicy soup for breakfast. Of course "breakfast" was at 1pm so I don't really think it's very odd to eat soup then.

Anyway, Tom Yum is a simple soup that can be altered so many ways. I think I'll keep experimenting until it's the best soup I've ever had.


Rorie said...

Why, I just can't imagine not liking soup - this one looks delicious!

Gourmetish said...

I know, I know. Everyone thinks I'm crazy (including myself) for not liking soup. I'm slowly coming around, though. For now I just stick to clear broth Asian soups.

Mitzi said...

I don't care for soup either but I am addicted to a local Thai restaurant Tom Yum noodle soup. I've decided to try to replicate their recipe as closely as possible & was doing the same the you did, hit the internet, which led me here. I'm taking from your description the 3 t vs the 3 T of chili paste is preferable? Anyway, I'm going to give it a shot. I think they're getting sick of me at the restaurant.