Sunday, March 24, 2013


Even though we are in the first days of Spring, it seems the cold and flu season is just starting to kick into full gear right now. Every third person I know is suffering from the sniffles of some sort.
I have a favorite cure all type soup for beating the nasty. It is called Tom-Yum soup. It is a Hot and Sour soup with chicken, mushrooms, lemon grass, chili, and lime juice. (Some people like it with Shrimp or even just a veggie version, it is good any way you do it, but I am chicken soup kind of gal myself.)
If you don't have a Thai resturant on every corner like we do here in Seattle this soup is just as easy to throw together in your own kitchen.

Here is my favorite soup for beating the yuck (This is the shrimp version, the variations are on the bottom):

3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock if you prefer)
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thinly (tough outer leaves and bulb removed)
3 kaffir lime leaves (find these in the freezer section of your local Asian grocery store)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 small green or red chillies (depending on desired spiciness), de-seeded and sliced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
a handful of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
12 medium or large raw shrimp, shells removed
1 can coconut milk
optional: additional Thai red chillies (left whole), plus other vegetables (like green and red bell peppers), as desired

1. Pour stock into a deep cooking pot.

2. Place lemongrass slices in a food processor and process until finely grated, or pound by hand with a pestle & mortar and add to the broth.

4. Add the mushrooms and shrimp. Boil for 8-10 minutes.

5. Turn down the heat to low and add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Stir well to combine. Test the soup for spice and salt, adding more chillies and/or fish sauce (instead of salt) as desired. If too spicy for your taste, add more coconut milk.

6. Serve in bowls with fresh cilantro sprinkled over and quarters of fresh lime on the side. ENJOY!


For a vegetarian version, replace shrimp with cubes of firm or deep-fried tofu, and substitute vegetarian fish soy or soy sauce for regular fish sauce. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken.
If you prefer chicken over seafood, substitute shrimp with chicken breast (cut into bite-size pieces).
This soup can also be made without coconut milk (replace with more stock). Tom Yum is served this way in many parts of Thailand.
For an even healthier soup, add more vegetables like red and green bell peppers, celery, cherry tomatoes, etc. (at step # 4).
If desired, add rice or egg noodles for a nutritionally complete and satisfying meal.

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