I’m deeply in love with Thai food. So much, that the other day I expressed to my friends that I wished I was Thai, just on the basis of how much I love their food. It didn’t go over well. The way Thai food combines tangy with spicy with Tom Kha, turns sweetness savory with Mango Sticky Rice, and turns salty into earthy with fish sauce makes for some of the most memorable dishes that I’ve ever had. The trick to Thai cuisine is to have your cabinets stocked with the main ingredients: fish sauce, sambal oelek (garlic + chili paste), keffir lime leaves, lemongrass, coconut milk, thai basil, thai chilies. Once you’re freezer is stocked, you’ll have easy access to most Thai dishes.
For this variation on Tom Yum, I cheated. I’ll admit it. Instead of compiling the galangal, chilies, and lemongrass and combining them with a mortar and pestle, I instead found a Tom Yum paste complete with MSG. Side note: MSG isn’t bad — it’s like candy, don’t gorge! This cuts down significantly on prep time, but adds just as much flavor.
Tom Yum Soup with Coconut Milk and Shrimp
1 tsp. fish oil
3 tbsp. Tom Yum soup paste
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 block of tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup small shrimp, deveined
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp. sambal oelek
1/2 jalapeno, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
2 keffir lime leaves
1. In a large pot, bring fish oil, soup paste, broth, coconut milk, sambal oelek, bell pepper, jalapeno, and keffir lime leaves to a boil.
2. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and toss in tofu. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until the bell peppers begin to soften.
3. 5 minutes from serving, toss in shrimp and cook until shrimp is pink. To serve, take out keffir lime leaves and set aside.