Last night we had a full Thai meal with the green mango salad, tom yum gong and stir fry minced meat with Thai basil. Didn’t know I can make Thai food as well! I find Thai food in Maastricht rather expensive and I can’t just restrict myself to eating one Thai dish at the dinner. A small bowl of tom yum gong would cost Euro5/6 while the rest of the main dish cost about Euro10. Between the two of us (before drinks) we could eat up to Euro50 in the restaurant for a simple Thai meal. This is rather normal for the Dutch but not me coming from Asia where Thai food is cheap and available everywhere.
I have tried about two different tom yum soups in Maastricht’s Thai restaurant but they are always not 100% satisfying. It’s all about the spices, so why not try it at home? The first time making it was rather complicated, we just kept adding everything thinking that we will make the soup more flavourful, which it did but I couldn’t keep count of what was in the soup at the end of the day. This time, I choose to keep it simple (it’s much easier to do this without Willem, he likes to double the doses all the time) by following the basic ingredient from most recipes I found online.
So below are the essential ingredients for tom yum soup, the amount of my ingredient is based on 2-3 sharing, you may adjust some ingredient if you know your taste bud prefers more fish sauce or more lime juice… etc
- 6 kafir lime leaves
- 3 lemon grass, cut in length as the picture and bruise them with the back of your knife
- 1 onion – quartered
- 2 thumb size of galangal, skin removed, sliced
- 2 red chili – seed removed, slit open in length (You may also use chili padi but I find 2-3 red chili were enough to spice up my soup). 1-2 are enough for normal European’s tolerance of spiciness, 4-5 might be needed if I were to cook this for my Asian friends.
- 2 Tomatoes – quartered
- handful of oyster mushrooms
- Prawns – about 4-5 each person (or more if you like), shells peeled and vein cleaned
- 1 litre of water
- Juice of 2-3 limes
- Some fish sauce
- Coriander leaves for garnishing
Put 1 liter of water in the pot and set on medium fire. Add all ingredients in blue into the water and close the lid. Once the water comes to a boil, leave it to boil for 15 minutes. At this point, you get to smell all the fragrance of a nice tom yum soup. If you have time, let it simmer for a longer time, otherwise add the mushroom in the soup. The mushroom takes about 4 minutes to cook in the boiling soup. Add the prawns once the mushrooms are cooked and turn off the heat quickly before over cooking your prawns. Prawns takes very little time to cook and will continue to cook sitting in the hot soup.
Now add half a tablespoon of fish sauce and half a tablespoon of lime juice into each of your serving bowl. Top the bowl with the tom yum soup, prawns and mushrooms, garnish with the coriander leaves.
You may add more fish sauce and lime juice to your personal preference or let your guest do it themselves. Usually if you find the soup blend, then you should add more fish sauce and lime juice.
Everybody can make tom yum soup at home with the right ingredients! Kafir lime leaves are probably the most difficult to find ingredient, if/when you see them, buy the whole lot and you can keep them for a very long time in the freezer.