Last week I posted the first traditional Thai recipe that we made during our Thai cooking class at the Avista Hideaway Resort in Phuket. Thai green curry and what a dish it is when done properly! Fresh, light, aromatic, creamy and just spicy enough for a chilli addict such as myself. But this week I am giving you the recipe for Tom Yam Goong. A dish I had never tried before but one that has rapidly become a favourite of mine.
The name “Tom Yam” derives from two Thai words: “Tom” means to boil and “Yam” means spicy and sour. Goong is Thai for prawn and whilst it is the most common option, the soup can also be made with chicken or vegetables. Tom Yam Goong has distinct hot and sour flavours, with fragrant herbs and spices. The broth comprises of prawn stock, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed chili peppers.
Galangal is a root plant in the ginger family, but whilst they may look very similar we were strictly told by the chef never to substitute one for the other. They have very different flavours and you don’t typically use galangal raw (although it has been used with lime juice as a tonic in certain parts of south east Asia).
Traditionally Tom Yam Goong is made with a prawn broth, but for speed and simplicity I asked the chef if it could be replaced by something that people might already make themselves or be able to purchase a little more easily. He said that you can use a vegetable or chicken stock, but vegetable would be his first choice. That said I did manage to find prawn broth in Waitrose.
- 2 cups of prawn stock (vegetable or chicken will do)
- 100g of king prawns
- 5g of galangal
- 10g of oriental mushrooms (straw or oyster)
- 4 cherry tomatoes
- 10g of shallots
- 5g of lemongrass
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 red birds eye chillies
- 2 tbsp. of fish sauce
- 1 tbsp. of chilli paste
- 1 spring onion
- A small handful of coriander
- Juice of ½ a lime
- Put the stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Add the chopped shallots, chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, lemongrass, galangal and most of the coriander, then simmer for two minutes.
- Add your fish sauce, chilli paste and salt.
- Put in your prawns and boil until cooked.
- Put in the kaffir lime leaves and crushed chillies.
- Season with lime juice and serve.
I learnt two very important things about how to prepare Thai food from the chef.
First, they never chop a chilli, EVER! They use the flat side of the knife, give it a quick smash with the palm of their hand to crush the chilli and split it down the side, then throw it in whole. They don’t remove them after cooking either, you are expected to eat the chilli. Good luck.
The second thing I learnt goes against everything I know. I have always followed the Jamie Oliver school of thought, when adding spices go for however much you like, when cutting veg chop it any which way you fancy. Never doing anything particularly precisely. Not in Thailand, no sir! They have a very strict principle that it does not matter how you chop your veg in a Thai recipe but once you have chosen a style it must be applied to the entire dish. So if you cube your galangal, you must do the same to the mushrooms, tomatoes, onions etc. The reason they do this is for presentational purposes, they believe that doing this will make your meal look more beautiful.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and don’t forget to follow @healthyjon on Instagram to see all the lovely recipes that onto quite make it into the blog.