First of all, I have no idea what it’s actually called in Thai, because there are so many variations on the Tom, Dom, Con, Gai, Yam, Yum, Kha axis of Thai soup that I simply don’t know.
But luckily, you don’t have to in order to make one of the most exotically tasting things ever.
I used this recipe at all recipes.com: Authentic Thai Coconut Soup.
1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
2 (13.5 ounce) cans canned coconut milk
2 cups water
1 (1 inch) piece galangal, thinly sliced
4 stalks lemon grass, bruised and chopped
10 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon green onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Boil the shrimp until cooked, about one minute. Drain shrimp, and set aside.
- Pour the coconut milk and 2 cups of water in a large saucepan; bring to a simmer. Add the galangal, lemon grass, and lime leaves; simmer for 10 minutes, or until the flavors are infused. Strain the coconut milk into a new pan and discard the spices. Simmer the shiitake mushrooms in the coconut milk for five minutes. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Season to taste with curry powder.
- To serve, reheat shrimp in the soup, and ladle into serving bowls. Garnish with green onion and red pepper flakes.
I did a few things different. First of all, on short notice late yesterday afternoon when I finally decided what I was going to do with a pound of wild, uncooked Argentinian red shrimp, it was tough to source all the exact ingredients. But I’m happy to report that fresh ginger root works fine in place of the galangal, and the zest from two medium sized limes seemed to work fine in place of the kaffir lime leaves. I used chicken stock in place of water. I ditched the sugar, and instead of the unspecified “curry powder” (there are a million kinds), I used authentic Tom Yum paste. I added a handful of quartered fresh gerry tomatoes. Finally, instead of green onion and red pepper flakes as garnish, I used fresh cilantro.
This was the first time I’ve made a Thai soup of any kind, but have had their coconut milk soups many times. I’m happy to report that it came out tasting very authentic with that kind of sweet, hot, sour flavor all rolled into one.
This was dinner. It could also make a great accompaniment to dinner, but in such case I’d cut down on the heartiness of it by using about only 1/4 pound of shrooms and maybe half the shrimp. That would make it a little more “brothy,” but retain all the exotic taste.
Go give it a try.