A Reved-Up TomYum,Where "It Rains Fishes AND Veggies"!

By • January 30, 2016 0 Comments

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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.


Serves 8-10

  • 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
  • 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
  • ~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
  • 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.
  1. 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 .
  2. Add SOUP BASE SOLIDS to stock, beginning with onion while you measure the other things.Simmer 20 minutes. Remove jalapeno pieces.
  3. 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.
  4. Add NOODLES, BLANCHED CARROTS and SNOW PEAS, and SCALLIONS and bring to boil.
  5. 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!
  6. * 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.
  7. 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'.)
  8. 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!

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