Oh this soup! This beautiful, bright, clean, fresh, spicy-hot, sour soup. Tom yum soup, or simply translated, hot and sour soup. When winter arrives - and mark my words, it's coming - this is the soup I turn to all the time. I first tasted this soup when I was living in Delhi, and a date took me to this place called Turquoise Cottage. I was fresh off the first-time-out-of-home boat, and the flavours of Thailand were a revelation to me. I was pretty addicted to Thai food from the get go, and when I had the opportunity to backpack around South East Asia, my first stop was Thailand and it's fabulous street markets.
While this soup might seem pretty ubiquitous, with a version in every Thai place, for me this is the ultimate comfort food. And it's certainly addictive with its clear spicy soup broth and is also a great vehicle for a lot of proteins. The most popular version of this soup is tom yum goong, or with shrimp, but a lot of places serve it with other meats as well. When my brief from the Turkey Farmers of Canada arrived for this month, with it's request for soup, I knew immediately that this was the soup I was going to make, especially with the leaves floating down from the trees, that characteristic nip in the air and the birds flying south (take me with you, birds...)
The recipe for tom yum soup varies from family to family, and this is my version of it. The Thais are all about balancing flavours, and this soup is certainly a prime example. I start with a chicken or turkey stock, preferably unsalted. I then add the classic aromatics of Thai food, lemongrass, hot red bird's eye chillies, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, kaffir lime zest, lime juice and fish sauce. I let the aromatics infuse, after which I poached the turkey straight in the broth, to maximise its flavour. Once the turkey is cooked, and the broth strained, I add freshly shredded lime leaves, lemongrass hearts and shimeji mushrooms (my favourite kind, though you can substitute these with pretty much any other variety of mushrooms) and then it's all about balancing the soup the way you like it. You can stir in the chilli sauce for added heat and spice, and a pinch of palm sugar calms everything down beautifully.
The ingredients may feel like they are difficult to source, but any Asian grocery will have them, and I have also seen them in larger Superstores. A lot of these ingredients can be bought fresh, then frozen. The strained broth can also be frozen, just thaw, season and add your fresh ingredients for the perfect easy supper.
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the Tasty Turkey website to download your recipe now.
And as usual, if you have any questions, mosey on back and I'll be more than happy to answer them for you :) Enjoy!