you are what you eat
Its been a rainy rainy week in Johannesburg and I was feeling for something warm and comforting. Something flavourful, hot and spicy. At the very last minute I decided to make my own tom yum paste, for a hot, sour and spicy Tom Yum Soup. I googled a recipe and improvised for the ingredients i did not have. It was not a bad try! Definitely less salty but with all the flavour of the shop bought version. The soup is easy to put together but the paste does require ingredients you might not have in your pantry. I was very proud of my fresh version, it was flavourful and fresh tasting- i used to think that the paste would be time consuming and complicated, but this was not the case. The only complication i foresee is never buying another commercial Tom Yum paste again!
Ingredients you will need:
– 1-2 Shallots, quartered OR 1/2 brown onion
– 4 6 cm lemon grass roots (roughly chopped)
– 5 garlic cloves
– 4cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
– 1-2 fresh red chillies (it needs to be hot, so be careful- maybe add one at a time and taste before adding another), OR 1tsp dried crushed red chilli
– 2 limes: Remove the rind (reserve for the paste) first then juice (1/4 cup lime juice)
– 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
– 3 Tablespoons fish sauce
– 2 Tablespoons good soy sauce (I prefer Kikkoman)
– 3/4 cup fresh coriander, leaves and stems
Place all the ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth.
Extra ingredients for the soup:
– Lemon grass leaves
-3 lime leaves (you will find this at your local Chinese or Thai supermarket)
– 1 stalk green onion
– 1 cup finely sliced vegetables of your choice (I used peppers, julienne carrots, mushrooms and green beans)
– Shelled prawns stir fried
Method for the soup:
Fill a pot with a litre of water. Throw in lemon grass stalks, lime leaves and green onion. Once this starts boiling add the prawns and 3- 4 Tablespoons of the Tom Yum Paste. Add the Vegetables and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes. Garnish with Coriander leaves and enjoy hot with noodles or rice. Taste for salt at the table, if you do need to add salt try a little pink or grey salt to give it extra flavour.
I have added a very fine spaghetti for starch. You can use noodles but remember that quick cooking noodles are high GI.
Extra paste can be frozen for a rainy day or it makes a very tasty chicken marinade (add a bit of reduced fat coconut milk for extra sauce).