I cannot explain to you how much I love Thai food. I could seriously just go to Thailand and eat my way through and do nothing else, so deep is my love for their hot and spicy cuisine (well maybe I’d fit a few of their amazing massages in).
A real proper Tom Yum Soup on the streets of Bangkok is just truly sublime… so much chill, so much lime, so much full on flavor, just hits you in your face and bam you can’t go back to the half hearted attempts that are served in the restaurants to cater to the western tastes. Even Bangkok airport has Thai restaurant that serves this and on my trips to and from Sydney to London I would always stop and have a big bowlful there, the conciliation prize for not actually going into Bangkok, made me this long flight was actually worth it to stop here just for this.
Anyway, here is a really tasty treat for those of you who like really good Thai food. I have not put as much chili in this as I used to, it was a little crazy how much chili I used to eat, somehow I have become calmer now and don’t think I can handle the same level of 15 bird eye chillies in a bowl of soup that I used to be able to… I used to try and make it the same way I saw the street stall people making it with enormous amounts of lemon juice too, and funnily enough nobody else but me could eat it at home. I blame it on being married to my English husband…or maybe just time has mellowed me out. Now a respectable 4-6 chili’s is all I can manage to put in the whole soup!
I always keep essential Thai staples in my freezer and pantry. Always have some kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Thai chillies in my freezer. If you keep good fish sauce, oyster sauce, some maesri curry pastes and coconut milk, then you can whip a nice Thai meal whenever the mood strikes. I found these super cute packets of Tom Yum Mix of all the herbs and things (perfect size for cooking for 4-6) you need ready made to store in the freezer section in Paris’s Trang Fares asian grocery stores. These can be used for Thai curries and soups. Pretty genius I thought as you just cut open a pack and add to your pot, without having to gather and prep 5 different things. Loved this latest discovery last week, anything to make life easier.
It is great to have a tin of chicken stock sold in asian food stores, if not maggi or knorr stock cubes would do to. But the flavor works better for asian soups with the asian chicken stock powder. I always have some on hand. You can use it for lots of things.
Hot and Sour Noodle Soup with Prawns
WUN SEN TOM YAM KUNG
150g (7 oz) mung bean noodles
350g raw prawns (peeled with tail left on, and butterflied if you like)
1 liter chicken stock/veg stock (use stock cubes mixed with water )
2 lemon grass stalks (cut and bruised)
2.5 Tblsp fish sauce
1.5 – 2.5 tbsp chilli jam (depending on how spicy you like it)
(2-4 red or green thai chillies (slightly crushed)
110 (4 oz) g mixed mushrooms
110 g (4 oz) baby tomatoes or a med tomato cut into 6
7 kaffir lime leaves
4 Tbsp lime juice
coriander/cilantro to garnish
Soak the mung bean noodles in hot water for 1-2 minutes till soft, then drain them and use a pair of scissors to cut into small pieces.
Heat the stock (I just use 1 liter of water mixed with chicken stock powder you can buy at asian supermarkets in the quantity suggested on the box), Amoy brand is a good one to get. Add the lemon grass, fish sauce, chili jam and crushed chillies and bring to boiling point. Reduce the heat to medium, add the mung been noodles, then cook for 1 or two minutes. Add the prawns and cook for another minute. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, lime leaves and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with coriander leaves.
Enjoy slurping your noodles and soup…