A while back, I received an email from a reader named Emily who said she uses the blog to stay in touch with her friend after she moved to Chicago, Illinois, and her friend stayed behind in Orlando, Florida. They browse through the blog, picking out recipes they want to try, and then compare notes.
She said they were talking about how delicious tom yum (Thai hot and sour soup) was and "immediately" searched the blog for a recipe. (I liked how she actually searched for the recipe before emailing me. Ha!)
Unable to find the recipe on my blog, she emailed me to request one. "There are other tom yum soup recipes available online but WE TRUST YOU," Emily said.
Awww. I asked her exactly how she and her friend used the blog to stay in touch?
"When she likes a recipe, she sends me the link the next day, and is like, 'You have to try this!'" Emily said, "I do and then I report back and we talk about the food, what we liked, what we didn't like. I remember we tried the Ultimate Stir Fry Sauce recipe and I used fish sauce for the first time. Yeah, I figured out I don't like fish sauce. LOL. We both really like all kinds of Asian food so it's fun to cook it at home!"
But why me? Why my recipes and not other sites?
Emily said her friend said the directions are clear, there are lots of pictures, and the recipes have turned out well. When she mentioned her friend's name, it made me realize that I had been corresponding with her friend as well, but hadn't made the connection between the two.
Rin, her friend in Orlando, had emailed me to say very complimentary things that I'll spare you from having to read. She also said the blog has helped her make food, that she had previously little exposure to, for her Vietnamese fiance. (Who's probably her husband by now by the time I got around to posting this.) She also asked what kind of food processor I use to grind my meats. Just a cheap one, but it serves its purpose.
Anyway, so much delayed, but here's my recipe for Tom Yum Goong Kai (Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp and Chicken Soup). I consulted Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok's recipe because she's my trusted source for Thai food. Her recipe mentions the use of nam prik pao (Thai chili jam), which I remembered coming across on Chez Pim's blog. Rather than making the paste or buying a commercial version, I decided to save a step by incorporating the chili and tamarind ingredients into the stock for tom yum instead. The result is the spicy, sour flavor that I associate with the tom yum I've had in restaurants. The other important flavor profile is using shrimp heads and shells for that deep seafood taste.
Tom Yum Goong Kai (Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp and Chicken Soup)
For a 2 quart pot, you'll need:
1 lb shrimp with heads, peeled and deveined, save the heads and shells
1/4 lb chicken thigh or breast meat, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 or more dried chili pods
2 tblsp tamarind
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
2-inch knob ginger, sliced
6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
1 tsp salt
2 tsp fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar
1 lime, juiced
1 15-oz can straw mushrooms, or other mushroom of your choice
Optional: Additional kaffir lime leaves and cilantro for garnishing
Peel and devein the shrimp. Save the heads and shells and set aside.
Slice the chicken and set that aside with the shrimp as well.
Slice two shallots and two cloves of garlic. In a 3-quart pot on medium heat, add a generous drizzle of oil and add the shallots and garlic. Break two or three dried chili pods and lightly fry those with the garlic and shallots as well.
When the garlic and shallots have started browning, add in the shrimp heads and shells.
Stir that a little so the shrimp shells turn pink and toasted, then add 2 quarts water.
Add about 2 tblsp tamarind, 2 stalks bruised lemongrass, 6 kaffir lime leaves, and 2-inch knob of ginger slices.
Also add 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp palm or brown sugar, 2 tsp fish sauce, and the juice of 1 lime. Let the soup stock simmer for about half an hour.
Then skim out all of the ingredients so you get a clean broth. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Then add shrimp, chicken, and mushrooms and let simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes until the meat is cooked through.
This was a version with chicken and enoki mushrooms.
Tom yum with shrimp and straw mushrooms.
Garnish with additional kaffir lime leaves or cilantro if you wish.
My other hot and sour soups that you might like:
Canh Chua Ca (Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup)
Canh Chua Tom (Vietnamese Sour Shrimp Soup)
Chinese Hot and Sour Soup
Tom Kha Gai (Thai Galangal and Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk)
1 year ago today, my cousin designed my awesome header.
2 years ago today, Iceberg Wedge Salad with Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing.
3 years ago today, frozen yogurt at the original Cefiore in Little Tokyo (Closed).