How many ways to prepare Tom yum? I don't know. How many not-quite-there Tom yums have we put our taste buds through? I don't know either, countless! K will order the soup wherever he sees one in the menu and most times, we walked away disappointed. In KK, there is a trend to add milk to tom yums, yikes! So, K was on a mission...and it was all for a good cause... He tried many recipes from newspaper cut-outs, magazines, cooking programmes on TV and books. He concluded that the key to a good tom yum soup is a good stock. No chicken stock cubes will suffice!
The essentials for a good tom yum
Lemongrass, kaffir leaves, lime, tomatoes, galangal, bird's eye chilli and chilli paste. Don't forget the coriander stems and roots (not in the pic but very essential).
Tom yum soup
Ingredients for stock:
300g pork bones or a small kampung chicken, chopped and parboiled*
1 bulb garlic
2-3 tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- Bring the 2L water to boil. Add all the ingredients. Bring it to boil again, quickly lower heat and let simmer for an hour or so. For the soup to be clear do not let the stock boil vigorously, just let it simmer with slight bubbling.
*If you like you can substitute the meat with prawn heads and shells for tom yum kung but I used the same stock for both fish and prawn.
Ingredients for the lovely fragrance:
(For the rest of the seafood mentioned above, if used, add in only at the last minute of cooking to avoid overcooking.)
- Add mushroom, chilli, sugar and fish sauce, cook for 2 minutes.