Tom Yum Soup

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There are comfort soups and then there are soups that look so innocent and look more of a broth than soup, with a few vegetables floating around. 
Get ready for the KICK with this Thai Soup; starts with the first spoonful of Tom Yum Soup until the last. This broth is both fiery and warming at the same time and will certainly open your nasal cavities. I make this soup when anyone at home is a little run down or suffering from coughs and colds. 

There are 4 ingredients which I think are key to this soup, Lemongrass, Thai Chilli, Kaffir Lime leaves and Galangal. 
Lemongrass I have, Chilli I grow yearly. As for Kaffir Lime, I am determined to get my hands on either seed or plant, hopefully by this time next year, I have a seedling or a young plant. Galangal, I thought it was different to Ginger, its not. Galangal is young ginger. It is the young fresh rhizome with fresh shoots, as it matures we recognise it as Ginger. I have used Ginger as my own grown Ginger plants are not ready yet. This reminds me, I must check on them.

Fresh Lemongrass, shop bought, I find can be quite expensive. So I thought to myself why not grown my own. I never thought I could grow Lemongrass outdoors, here in UK until I read up on Jekka’s Herb . In January 2016 I started some seeds indoors on the kitchen window ledge and followed the instructions on the seed packet and was in a final planting position, a large pot, by April (same year). Lemongrass will not survive the winters, this is my only herb pot brought indoors during the cold months. 
This year, I get it an upgrade, moved plant to a larger pot earlier in the year and now noticed new shoots already coming through.

Lemongrass otherwise, sits happily with the other herb pots outdoors until first frost. It is an evergreen plant, and when brought indoors it means even in the winter months can be used.

Growing my own Thai chillies from seed, are so much more fiery than shop bought chillies. We have been eating this chilli since early June, whilst in its green form, and even at that stage they were really hot. Using these chillies at the green stage, just puts a smile on my face because I know, as they ripen they only get hotter. I think this year I will have a really good harvest and will freeze majority of them whole and dry a few, with a couple of fruits kept just for seeds for next year. Thanks Thompson and Morgan, its an old packet of seed I had kept, and still managed to raise a plant, a really good seed variety.

Own grown Lemongrass leaves are not wasted; they are snipped, air dried and stored; ready to be used just as you would dried lemon grass stalks. I use them to make Lemongrass tea as you would dried mint.

Here is my take on Tom Yum Soup: 

Place 500ml of good Chicken Stock in a pan with 250ml of water. Cut the Lemongrass stalks into 3 even pieces and bruise them with either a Kitchen Mallet or with a side of a chef’s knife. Do the same with a small piece of freshly peeled Ginger and 3 cloves of garlic. Add all bruised ingredients to the stock pot together with 4 dried Kaffir Lime leaves and 2 or 3 Thai Chillies, split in the middle, but still attached to the stalk. If you have, add 1 or 2 shallots cut into quarters or you can use a small onion instead. Bring to boil and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
Just before serving add some freshly peeled prawns, small diced tomato and whole mushrooms (I have used ‘button’ variety with stalks removed, as I can not find Oyster Mushrooms readily), cooking them for no longer than 8 minutes. Finally, measure and add 4 tablespoons (you may want to start with 2 tablespoons) of Fish sauce to the broth, giving the soup its salty character, together with 3 tablespoons of fresh Lime juice and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Garnish with diced bunching onions and fresh coriander.
Serve straight of the cooker, whilst its piping hot.

Note: No Salt or Pepper required in this Soup.
For the vegetarian option; simply swap chicken stock for vegetable stock and replace Prawns with diced Tofu. Use Soy sauce instead of Fish sauce at the end. Process is still the same.

Enjoy x

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