I always turn to my kitchen for comfort. And music of course. Ok fine, and a little help from whisky. Today’s comfort dish is definitely the classic Tom Yum Goong! And of course the quintessential Thai aroma in my kitchen…….
Honestly speaking, real old-fashioned tomyum is very er unattractive in appearance, it doesn’t look like any Tom Yum you see in any Thai restaurants. Seriously rustic, unappealing and unsophisticated – I first saw the rusticated Tom Yum in my grandmother’s remote village in south of Thailand. I was slightly upset and maybe traumatized when the bona fide Tom Yum was served at the table. But, it was insanely delicious! Was it that day I learnt not to judge a book by its cover?
Though there are many say, differences to Thailand’s most iconic dish Tom Yum Goong, I always prefer this glamsta (glamorous and gangsta’) version of Tom Yum Goong Nam Khon aka creamy Tom Yum Goong.
2 cups of Pork or chicken broth / water
6 – 7 fresh kaffir lime leaves, slightly bruised & torn into pieces
2 stalks of lemongrass (only the bottom half), bruised & sliced
1 stalk of lemongrass (only the bottom half), bruised
8 slices of fresh galangal
Oyster mushrooms/ straw mushrooms, 1 cup (preferably not button mushrooms)
2 1/2 tablespoons of Nam Prik Pao (Thai chili paste/ Tom Yum paste store-brought)
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
3 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (preferably not lemon juice)
2 – 3 bird’s eye chilies, crushed
Shrimps, peeled & deveined, with head & tail still intact
1 cup of canned evaporated milk / coconut milk (regular milk is fine)
Cilantro for garnish
In a saucepan, bring the broth or water to a gentle boil over a medium heat. Make sure the broth is barely simmering. Stir in lemongrass, galangal and half of kaffir lime leaves. Continue to simmer. Add mushrooms and Nam Prik Pao. Add 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and crushed chilies.
As the soup is still simmering, add in the shrimps. Turn up the heat to get a steady simmer. Cook about 1 minute or until shrimps are slightly pink. Add milk. Simmer for about 1 minute and add in the remaining kaffir lime leaves, sugar and half a tablespoon of Nam Prik Pao. Remove from heat. Add lime juice and season with fish sauce. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
Serve with rice. I made simple mini omelette with fish sauce, white pepper and snake beans to go with my Tom Yum Goong Nam Khon.