Video:Traditional Tom Yum Soupwith Erica Wides
Tom yum soup embodies all the things we love about Thai food: hot, sour, sweet, and salty flavors. See how you can make your own tom yum at home, adjusting the ingredients to your preference.See Transcript
Transcript:Traditional Tom Yum SoupHi, I'm Erica Wides, a chef instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and I'm here for About.com. Today I'll be making Thai tom yum soup.
What Is Tom Yum Soup?It's a soup from Thailand that's very intensely flavored. It has all those four flavors that we like in our Thai food, hot, sour, salty, and sweet. With a good dose of shrimp and some nice herbs, it's a really nice, really powerfully flavored soup. To make the Tom Yum we have to start off with some shrimp.
Peel and Devein the ShrimpAnd, what we need to do with these shrimp is peel and devein them because the shrimp shells will be going in our stock to flavor our soup. To peel and devein the shrimp, take a sharp knife, lay the shrimp down on your board and just cut along the back cutting right through the shell. That way you can open up the shrimp, peel off the shell, and at the same time pull out the vein.
Tom Yum Soup LemongrassLemongrass is an herb that grows in Southeast Asia. And, lemongrass has a very tough couple of outer layers that we would want to remove. And then what I would want to do with the lemongrass is cut off the very bottom. So just take your knife and cut that part off. And what you want to use is this. It's kind of the center, middle bit, of the lemongrass, where it'll be a little bit more tender, and a little bit more flexible.
In this soup we put it in large pieces so that it just floats around in there and then we can remove it. And, with the back of my knife just lightly crush it a little bit. Makes the Lemongrass juices start to flow a little bit. Then, take the knife and cut on an angle. Just some large pieces. We want to put two stalks of lemongrass into this soup along with the shells of about a dozen shrimp. Nice long pieces, ok, so those will go in the stock for the soup.
Tom Yum Soup Kafir LimeAnd then, the next ingredient is Kafir Lime leaf. The kafir lime is a citrus fruit that grows in Southeast Asia. And it's a very very sour lime and to really get the flavor out of these you want to crunch them up a little bit. So, four kafir lime leaves, kind of crunched up a little bit. Like that.
Tom Yum Soup StockNow, the stock for this soup can be simply water. Or, it can be fish stock or you can even use chicken stock. I'll be using chicken stock today. But what you just want to remember is you can use chicken stock that has no salt. I'll be using about a quart of chicken stock, so all of this goes into the pot with the stock. And we want to bring this up just to a simmer. What we're looking to do here is get the flavor from the shrimp shells and the lemongrass and the lime leaves to infuse into the stock. So, we want to give it about ten minutes at a gentle simmer. So once it comes up to a boil I'm going to turn the heat down.
Tom Yum Soup IngredientsNow while the tom yum stock is simmering we want to get some of the other ingredients ready that we'll add to it once it's been strained. We'll be adding shitake mushrooms to the soup. So, you want to slice up about 6 or 8 shitake mushrooms.
So, tom yum soup is a very hot spicy sour soup and a lot of that actually comes from this, which is called tom yum paste. This is a paste made from chilies and shallots and garlic and a little bit of sugar that's been cooked in oil and until it's really sticky and caramelized and dark and then it gets ground up. So, we'll be adding this to our stock, once it's strained. But, along with the Tom Yum paste we want to add some fresh chili.
Tom Yum ChiliesThese are the Thai Bird's Eye chilies. Remember with chilies the smaller they are the hotter they are. So, we'll be slicing these up, leaving in the seeds. We'll also be adding the peeled shrimp, and we'll be adding a lot of lime juice. So, the stock has been simmering now for about ten minutes. You don't want to simmer for much longer than that because you don't want too much evaporation. And now, we're ready to strain this. So I have another pot setup here and I'll strain my stock. Then, we want to put this back on the heat and bring it back up to a simmer.
So, here we have the shitake mushrooms, the shrimp and the chilies and those are all going to go back in the stock now. Remember that shrimp only really need a minute or two to cook. Just bring that back up to a simmer and give it just a minute or two.
Combine the Tom Yum Soup IngredientsSo now the shrimp are cooked, the mushrooms are cooked. So, I'm taking this off the stove. And, you can see the shrimp have just curled and they're just opaque. So now we'll be adding the tom yum paste to the soup. So, I added about a tablespoon of the tom yum paste to this. We'll be able to taste the soup and decide if we want more in there or not.
The sour comes from the lime juice, and you'll notice that the lime juice is going into the soup after it's come off the stove because we want the lime juice to taste absolutely as fresh as possible. So, I'm adding the juice of about two limes to this. You want the soup to be sour.
And then our next ingredient is our fish sauce. And, remember our fish sauce is what adds saltiness. So, I'm going to add maybe another two tablespoons of fish sauce to my soup. And then finally, we want to add sweetness. I'm going to start out with probably two teaspoons of palm sugar. Now, we'll just stir. Let all of that dissolve in there.
Mmmm, that's good. So, once the soup is in the bowl, I'll just pluck a few cilantro leaves. So, I just like to put in whole leaves. And, a few thai basel leaves, just torn. And you can serve it with a little lime wedge too. So, this is Thai Tom Yum Soup.
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