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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Tom yum yum yum

All this wintery weather has given me the most hideous cold I've had in years. I rarely get sick and that's probably why I hate it so much. I can't be bothered doing anything, my appetite disappears, I can't taste anything and all this makes me very grumpy indeed.
My spirits were lifted when my very excellent husband made me this delicious Tom Yum soup. The perfect antidote to whatever ails you - it has enough punch to penetrate snotty sinuses and I'm convinced it has super magic healing powers.

Tip: I usually keep a jar of tom yum paste (check the ingredients for absence of shrimp) in the fridge for a quick soup base, as getting all these ingredients can sometimes be a bit of a mission, especially if you're a bit under the weather.
You could also add tofu and/or noodles to make a meal of this soup and any veg will do, broccoli, baby corn, mangetout or capsicum would all be great additions.

Tom Yum Goong
Makes about 4 entree-sized portions or 2 big bowls

What you need
1.5 litres of marigold vegetable bouillon or any other good veg stock. Mix it up strong enough so it tastes good on its own
1-2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layers removed and sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 whole kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Chinese food stores, or dried in supermarkets. Use double if they're dried)
1-2 red chilies, sliced. Add less or more according to preference
1 thumb-sized piece ginger, sliced into thin matchstick pieces
3 portabello mushrooms, chopped into bite-sized pieces (enoki or shitake would be good too)
2 bunches baby bok choy cut into 3cm pieces (or broccoli, spinach or chard would work too)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
a mini can of good-quality coconut milk
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
juice of a lime
a big handful of basil (roughly chopped)
a big handful of coriander (roughly chopped)

The do
Pour stock into a soup pot. Add the lemongrass, lime leaves, chili, garlic, and ginger. Bring to boil and continue boiling for 5-10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-8 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.
Add cherry tomatoes. Gently simmer 1-2 more minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add the coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, and lime juice. Finally, add the bok choy and gently stir. Keep on the heat until the bok choy is cooked, and then it's ready to go.

Do a taste test, and give it a tweak - add more chili if it needs more kick. If it's not salty enough, add more soy sauce or salt, add a little sugar if it's too sour and if it's too salty or sweet, add another squeeze of lime juice.

Serve in bowls with fresh basil and coriander heaped on top.

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