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