As you may already know, I am part of the WorldFoods Fusion Taste Team which means that each week we get to try out new recipes. Although I love Asian cuisine it isn’t something that I have actually cooked much myself, so I am really enjoying the challenges so far and one of the good things is that it is a chance to really experiment. I’m not sure how authentic that will make my dishes but I’m loving it all the same and it is always fascinating to see what the other team members come up with too once we have a play with the basic recipe.
So this week we were set a challenge using Thai Tom Yum which is something that I have never actually had before. This spicy paste is from Southeast Asia and is usually made into a distinctively bright orangey red soup. There are different varieties of this spicy broth, and it can be found in many of the surrounding countries and areas – Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. The soup is fragrant, spicy and sour, and includes flavours of lemon grass, kaffir lime, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli. The WorldFoods paste is made by crushing fresh herbs and stir frying them in oil and the first thing that hit me when opening the jar was the amazing aroma! It smelt absolutely heavenly!
Tom Yum typically includes prawns (tom yum goong or tom yum kung), but can feature chicken (tom yum kai), or fish (tom yum pla) instead. The Royal Lao version includes a pinch of rice in the soup while other versions are typically served with rice as a side. Coconut milk can also be added which may help to tone down the spice if hot is not your thing (this is called tom yum nam khon). You can also try modifying the recipe by adding Thai chilli jam – nam phrik phao. This makes the soup bright orange and more spicy!
Making the Tom Yum soup couldn’t have been easier. I fried off a small piece of fresh sliced ginger then added 4 tablespoons of the paste and cooked to release all of the lovely flavours and aromas. Then I added 300ml of water and brought to the boil before adding 150g of king prawns. I let this simmer away over a medium heat until the prawns had cooked through. I didn’t add any coconut milk myself as I like my food on the hot side but the good thing about this recipe is that it is so simple to adapt to suit your taste. You can use more or less paste or water to get the taste just right. I should add too that I was making this for lunch for just the two of us so obviously if you were cooking for more then just simply add more paste and water. I served this with a handful of fresh coriander.
I have to say that I really REALLY enjoyed the Tom Yum soup. It was so easy to make and it is so versatile in that you can add different ingredients to make different variations. The taste was just incredible though. That perfect hit of spicy and sour and it smelt absolutely divine!
I also couldn’t resist using the Tom Yum to make a rice dish too seeing as I had plenty left and this was something that I made for all of us and even my little ones enjoyed it. I pre-cooked some rice the night before for this dish and if you want to try this then you need to cook it at least 2 hours in advance. But again, this is another really easy recipe. I fried off some garlic and ginger in the wok and stirred in two good tablespoons of the paste and stir fried until it was aromatic. Then I cooked off some prawns, spring onions, mushrooms and green beans before adding the rice. It took about five minutes to heat through – it couldn’t be simpler! I love being able to bung everything in the wok like this and you could make it with whatever you had to hand. Good fast food.
Both of these dishes were absolutely delicious and I would go so far as to say that the Tom Yum soup is my favourite recipe of all our challenges yet. But what I love most about this paste is that it is so versatile. From that one small jar I made two delicious but completely different dishes.
To follow our culinary adventures over the coming weeks please do join WorldFoods over on Facebook. They hold lots of regular giveaways too so you could be in with a chance at trying your hand at some of these recipes too!