Updated: Jul 25
The secret to making a good tom yum soup is in the quality of seafood that you put into it. For this I chose to use two live blue Scottish lobsters instead of prawns. I wanted to make a quick stock from using the heads of the lobsters which I thought would make a great base for the soup. Tom yum should have a nice umami flavour that holds a salty and sour taste to make it one of the freshest tasting soups out there. Not only is this dish delicious which packs umami but it is also extremely heathly. Let's make tom yum goong!!!
To serve 6
2 medium live lobsters (or 12 tiger prawns)
4 tbsp nam prik pao (thai chilli paste)
8 birds eye chillis
3 lemongrass stalks
8 kaffir lime leaves
thumb sized piece of galangal (ginger is ok)
6 garlic cloves
bunch of coriander
8 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 can coconut milk or 6 tbsp condensed milk
Nam Prik Pao:
15-20 dried red chillis
6 garlic cloves
6 small red shallots
4 tbsp palm sugar
1 tsp shrimp paste
4 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp tamarind
Let's make nam prik pao first, if you can find it at your supermarket great if not here's how to make it. Begin by toasting the red chillis without the seeds along with the garlic and shallots in a dry pan until all nicely charred. Next add the chillis, garlic and shallots to a food blender and pulse until fine. When nicely ground add 4 tbsp palm sugar, 1 tsp shrimp paste, 4 tbsp fish sauce and 2 tbsp of tamarind juice. Blend all the ingredients until a fine paste is formed.
2. Now add a generous amount of oil to a pan and fry the paste on a medium heat for around 10 minutes constantly stirring to prevent it from burning. When the paste becomes dark and sticky check the seasoning by adding a pinch of salt then remove from the heat and set aside. This jam plays a key part in thai cuisine and can be used in many other dishes.
3. Now we can move onto the lobsters, the most humane way to kill them is to insert a knife down the cross section on top of the head and slice down, that will kill the lobster immediately. Then remove the heads and cut them into pieces. Add the heads to a large pan of water and allow to simmer for around half an hour. You may need to skim often to remove any scum that will rise to the top. Next prepare the tails of the lobsters by cutting in half lengthways, then into half again. For the claws and knuckles bash them with the back of a knife to release the meat from the shell. When prepared blanch in the lobster head stock for around 1 minute then remove, cool and set all the lobster pieces aside.
4. Next we can start to bring the dish together, remove the lobster heads from the stock and put the stock in a large pan and simmer. Then add bruised lemongrass, ripped kaffir lime leaves, birdseye chillis, chopped galangal and peeled garlic cloves to the stock. Allow to infuse for around 10 minutes. Then add 3 tbsp of sugar and 8 tbsp of fish sauce then add the roughly chopped oyster and enoki mushrooms, tomato wedges and lobster pieces then cook for a further 5 minutes on a high heat. Then remove from the heat and place to one side as its important not to overcook the lobster.
5. Now everything is off the heat, add the juice of 8 limes and check the seasoning. You want the essence of the broth to be salty and sour. To make this tom yum creamy add the coconut milk and 4 tbsp of our nam prik pao that we made earlier, mix well with a spoon. You want to check the seasoning again at this point as the coconut milk can take away a little bit of the sourness. Adjust the seasoning by adding more lime juice or fish sauce if needed.
6. Now the tom yum is ready we can serve. divide into 6 bowls and pop some coriander and additional bird eye chillis over the top. I quite like to eat tom yum with fresh coconut rice or rice noodles. Enjoy my take on tom yum goong!
Instead of using lobster you could use whole tiger prawns. Remove the outer shells to make the stock and add them in raw towards the end of making the soup. I chose to use coconut milk for this dish but more traditionally thai people commonly use condensed milk. I thought I would use coconut milk as I would imagine the thought of adding milk to this soup may put a few people off, although I do recommend trying it. Have fun!!!