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Tom Yum Goong


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When I lived in Thailand as a kid two of my favorite dishes were Tom Yum Pla (we called it Fish Head Soup) and Tom Yum Goong (Shrimp Soup).  I'm trying to recreate one of them here.  Almost all of the ingredients are pretty readily available;  exceptions are Galangal (a root similar to ginger), Kaffir lime leaves (available frozen at some Asian markets- I have my own plant since I cook a lot of Thai) and lemongrass (depends on where you live).  This is a dish where you cook flavor into the broth with lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves boiled for a few minutes in shrimp or chicken stock before adding the shrimp and mushrooms to cook until just cooked through.  Fish sauce is added after the soup comes off the heat to adjust the salt level (Taste, Taste!).  Shrimp, mushrooms and broth are spooned into bowls prepared with lime juice, green onions, sliced green chilies and more lime leaves. 

Prepare Bowls (each for entree size)

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 to 1 tsp thinly sliced hot green chilies (this is where your judgement, your audience and the chilies you have available comes into play)

1 green onion thinly sliced

1 kaffir lime leaf torn in half

garnish with chopped cilantro


Broth (this makes 2 entree sized portions or 4 appetizer sized)

3 cups water, chicken stock or shrimp stock (I prefer either shrimp stock made from shrimp heads and shells, or fish stock made from heads and bones of filleted fish)

3 stalks fresh lemongrass trimmed to 3" base and sliced diagonally into 1" slices

5 slices Galangal, either fresh, frozen or dried (substitute is ginger)

1/2 lb  shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms because they were sitting next to the lemongrass at my Asian market)

up to 2 T fish sauce after the soup comes off the heat and you taste it

optional roasted chile paste for leathermouth chile-heads (nam prik pao)


In this cook I used clam juice and my chicken stock because I couldn't find any head-on shrimp to make stock.  I used most of a serrano pepper for each bowl and it was great for me but had my wife complaining (there's your judgement call).  It tasted close enough to what I remembered to pass for the real thing.









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