Tom Yum Goong is a very famous Thai soup. It is so famous that the Asia Financial Crisis of 1997 is also called the Tom Yum Goong Financial Crisis in Thailand. It all began when the Thai Baht couldn’t keep matching with the US Dollar and South East Asia plummeted into financial darkness, kind of similar to my bank account. What a wonderful piece of history. Back to the food, Thai restaurants have a very strange chili rating system, there was a Thai place in New Orleans called Sukhothai which has a spicy rating of 1, 3, 5, and 20. Now I’m an adventurous person and like to take on challenges so I went for the 20. It was so spicy that I felt it in my mouth all the way down to my anus the next morning. My roommate was so worried when I was screaming on the toilet all night long. You can recreate that experience by making this dish at home using extra hot roasted red chili paste. Lets begin!
500 gram large freshwater shrimp (8-10 count/lbs), de-veined and shell removed
2 liter water
1 inch chunk galangal
4 stalks lemongrass
10 Kaffir lime leaves
1 – 1.5 tbsp roasted Thai red chili paste
5 cloves garlic
2 Roma tomatoes
300 grams oyster mushroom
2 tsp sugar
100 mL fish sauce
150 – 175 mL lime juice
100 mL evaporated milk
2 tbsp coconut cream
Lime chunks for garnish
Chop and clean all your vegetables, herbs, and shrimp into the desired shapes. For the lemongrass, take out the lard layer of leaf on the top and pound it with the flat end of your knife or mallet. This will allow for the flavor to be released. Cut into 3 cm long slices diagonally. Cut the galangal into 0.5 cm thick chips. Wash the oyster mushroom and separate them into large chunk, each about half the size of your fist. Tear each lime leave into two or three pieces. Chop the shallots and tomatoes into large chunks, don’t worry about the size because they will dissolve into the soup. Peal and chop the garlic.
Bring 2 liters of water to a rolling boil and add the lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, garlic, and chili paste. Boil for about 10 minutes.
Now add the shrimp and give it a nice mix. Then add the mushrooms, shallots, and tomatoes and give a quick stir. Lower the heat and cover. Simmer the soup for another 8-10 minutes.
Add the fish sauce and sugar, mix and close the heat.
Now is the time to add the coconut cream, evaporated milk, and lime juice. Add the lime juice and keep taste testing until you have the consistency you want. You can add more of the roasted red chili paste according to your desire.
Tom Yum Goong is a broth soup with a lot of inedible parts (like the lemongrass and galangal) so it will be a chore to eat. Serve it hot and garnish it with lime wedges. This soup pairs well with a dry white, I suggest a Riesling or a Pinot Gris.