On Tom Yum Soup

Aug 17, 2015 | 2 minutes read

Tags: blog

Anybody who knows me will attest I have a strong affinity for Asian cuisine. My absolute favourite dish is a Thai Tom Yum soup (often also called “Hot and Sour Soup”, but not the Chinese style - which is awful). I’d always assumed that my substitutions were the reason it never worked out, or maybe I was missing some magic ingredient (..the right stock?), because my first two tries were hopelessly unsuccessful. It turns out this is not the case, but I can attest the top Google search results for “Tom Yum” are all woeful imitations.

I think began to wonder if my attempts were so ill-fated because there was some technique involved which I was missing, so I turned to YouTube. It’s there I came across this video, which resulted in exactly what I was looking for:

One of the big challenges with creating any sort of Asian fare is often difficult to find brands. I find Asian food stores nigh-on impossible to navigate, but this recipe has very few hard-to-find ingredients! In fact, I can find almost everything at the local Boston-area grocery store Market Basket, with the Kaffir Lime Leaves being the only entry requiring a trip to the Asian market.

Here’s the recipe as I modified it for easier-to-source ingredients:

  • 1.5 liters water
  • 1 thumb size chunk of ginger or galangal
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves (Important & hard to find!)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 2 sweet white onions 3 red tomatoes, cut into 1/8ths handful bunch of cilantro
  • 4 - 5 limes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbs canned chilli paste - I used “cock” (ahem) brand
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce