This is the kind of food I crave if I’m feeling under the weather, suffering after a few too many red wines the night before, or simply have a dose of the blues. It’s clean and soothing, yet at the same time refreshing and a rip-roaring riot of flavour. With each slurpy spoonful you feel your physical and psychological health being reassuringly restored.
The broth has at its base chicken stock and tom yam (or yum) paste. Tom yam soup originates from Thailand and is popular across South East Asia, and the paste is made from galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and chilli. It has an irresistibly spiky, spicy, sour flavour, that wakes up your tastebuds and shakes them out of their doldrums. You can of course make up your own paste but I like to make life as easy as possible and generally have a pot of ready-made paste in the fridge. You can pick some up easily in most supermarkets and Asian groceries.
You can make your hot and sour soup simply with vegetables, or throw in some seafood and fish minutes minutes before serving, or a couple of handfuls of shredded roast chicken. I generally make both a fishy and a chicken version in our house as my husband doesn’t really eat fish, although he does cope with the fish sauce.
And I like to throw sliced chillies, seeds and all, in at the very last moment (after I’ve served the kids’ helpings). I adore that fantastically fiery hit of chilli to really clear the system. Tissues at the ready! You may like to add yours earlier to mellow their impact a tad, or leave them out altogether as the tom yam paste already has quite a kick to it.
Hot and sour soup with king prawns and salmon
1.5 litres chicken stock
1 tbsp tom yam paste
1 stick lemongrass, hard outer leaves removed, finely chopped
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
200g green leafy vegetables, roughly chopped (I used Swiss chard)
1 salmon steak, cut into bitesize chunks
500g shelled raw king prawns
7 spring onions, sliced
3 red bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced
large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Heat the chicken stock in a large saucepan and stir in the tom yam paste, followed by the lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for a couple of minutes before adding the green vegetable. Cook for a few more minutes then add the chunks of salmon, king prawns and spring onion. Cook for a few more minutes until the salmon and prawns are just cooked through.
Stir in the sliced chillies and serve, sprinkled with the fresh coriander, and revive those senses.
I’m entering my hot and sour soup into the following challenges: