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Author Notes: i am particularly proud of this recipe because I met the challenge of creating my own Tom Yum seafood soup with attributes that I could not find in any of the myriad recipes I read. I wanted a meal- in-a-bowl, thick with fresh vegetables and seafood, and a complex broth with many layers of flavor. Not a soup as Appetizer, but soup as a filling and refreshing Entree.
There are many things to chop and blanch here, but then that's the whole point. What I loved when I first discovered the famous Tom Yum Goong- was the bright complex citrus and seafood flavors; the broth was so refreshing! But I was never satisfied with a big bowl of broth with just a little seafood and veggies, and alot of noodles. I wanted a lot of vegetables in it, unlike all the other tom yums i've had. And a lot of seafood too. To make a satisfying meal, I find a large 4 cup bowl is just right for each of us. (We don't get hungry again 1/2 hour after eating!)
One of the things of which i am most proud with this soup -is that I am able(by staying FOCUSED!) to get the seafood just barely cooked, at the end of this long process. The squid, shrimp and scallops are soft and smooth and tender; no rubber here! And the soup is nutritious. What I mean by that is that it is not high in salt, has no sugar, and is basically no-fat. Starch comes with no-cook brown rice noodles and there is no need for a traditional fish stock (with its own sourcing challenges.)
-- Prepping some things a day in advance will make the assembly go much faster. For me this means peeling my shrimp, slicing mushrooms and onions, and blanching my veggies.
—LE BEC FIN
- SOUP BASE PRIMARY:
- shrimp shells from 1 lb. shrimp 26/30 count
- 3 +qt water
- 2 cups frozen chopped lemongrass (or 10 stalks, frozen or fresh, sliced 1/4 " on the diagonal and SMASHED with heavy iron pot or mallet, just before adding)
- 20 thin coins galangal,fresh or frozen, skin -on, smashed and added like above
- 12 lime leaves, torn at ribs to release flavor, just before adding
- 4 large peeled garlic cloves
- SOUP BASE SOLIDS:
- 1 medium large onion,thinly sliced and cut in 1-2" pieces
- 1 lb.white mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup+ Red Boat fish sauce*
- 2 Tablespoons Indian tamarind paste (like liquid tar)finger-smooshed in bowl with some hot water- add half and then add a little at a time if you need more
- 4 canned Pastene plum tomatoes(or fresh in summer), roughly chopped
- NOODLES AND BLANCHED VEGGIES :
- ~4 medium carrots, sliced into 1/4" coins
- ~20 ounces snow peas cut on diagonal into 1/3 " slices
- 1 cup scallions, sliced thinly across
- 1-2 lb. brown rice pad thai noodles, soaked in very hot water ~ 3 minutes til not fully soft (they continue to soften in liquid); drained
- 1 lb shrimp 26/30 count, peel-on, peeled ,cleaned and brined in salt solution: Mix 4 cups cold water with 2 1/2 Tablespoon sea salt. Swish around shrimp in this; soak 10 minutes, rinse a few times to remove salt. Quarter shrimp.
- 1 lb cleaned squid bodies, sliced crosswise into thin 1/4" rings
- 4 ounces sea scallops(not bay), quartered
- FINISHING TOUCHES:
- fresh lime juice (1-2 Tablespoons per person)
- Huy Fong rooster Sriracha (1/2- ? Tablespoons per person; Depends on your guests; Dragon Mouths may want the whole bottle for themselves!!)
- 1 bunch chopped cilantro, soaked to remove dirt, lifted with sieve scooper and dumped into soup
- 1 lb bean sprouts (the big generic ones)
- *Individual tastebuds may request fish sauce, lime juice, and/or sriracha at table.
- To water in 8 qt. pot add SOUP BASE PRIMARY ingredients. Bring to boil and then simmer 30 minutes. Remove shrimp shells and other solids to second pot for secondary stock**(optional) or trash them. If you can, pick out and return lime leaves, garlic and galangal to stockpot .
- Add SOUP BASE SOLIDS to stock, beginning with onion while you measure the other things.Simmer 20 minutes. Remove jalapeno pieces.
- Blanch carrots 1-2 minutes in 6 cups boiling water til almost tender. Remove and set aside. Blanch snow peas 2 seconds , remove and set aside.Ditto 2 seconds for the bean sprouts.
- Add NOODLES, BLANCHED CARROTS and SNOW PEAS, and SCALLIONS and bring to boil.
- Add SEAFOOD to stock, turn down to simmer and stir just a few minutes til seafood is opaque. Add FINISHING TOUCHES, top with BEAN SPROUTS, and serve!
- * I read a web report of a person who taste- tested 35 different fish sauces! and Red Boat was their #1. It is miles above any of the others I've tried. ** simmer shrimp shells through garlic another 1/2 hour to make a weaker secondary stock to supplement first stock, if needed later. If you have more lemongrass, use some additional for this secondary stock.
- Notes: --In Thailand there is a non-coconut milk version, like this one, and a coconut milk version. For the latter, add coconut milk to taste after the soup is assembled. (Make sure to shake well and taste your coconut milk before using; I have had many experiences of rancid coconut milk, which tastes sour and 'off'.)
- Note: Knowing how much prep this soup required,whether for two or ten, I purposely designed this recipe to make alot. If you are not making this for a large group, and you expect to have leftovers, here is my technique for assembling and storing it. I do it this way for the express purpose of not overcooking the seafood: --In their own container, store together the blanched snow peas and carrots .Ditto the brown rice noodles. Keep the liquid soup base separate from the seafood- mushrooms- onions- cilantro- scallions- solid seasonings. When you want to serve Tom Yum again in the next few days, remove 1 1/2 cups broth per person, cover and heat til boiling. Remove the cover and add 1 cup soaked noodles and 1/2 cup-1 cup total blanched carrots and snow peas and stir well til all is very hot. Add 1 cup total seafood and solids and stir continuously for a few minutes til hot. Dunk in 1 cup bean sprouts (to blanch.)Remove from heat and pour into large bowl. Add lime juice and sriracha to taste (1-2Tablespoons of each.) Serve!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for The Recipe You're Most Proud Of