Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tom Yum Goong & My 100th Post

I had not believed I will make it this far,something that had started as a whim has now become a passion. Thanks to all my lovely followers and all my loyal readers,who have been a constant source of inspiration on this journey that I embarked  upon on 13th of October 2010. It has already been over 6 months and 6 days-WOW :)!!! . This has truly been the most rewarding experience for me and I eagerly look forward to creating some exciting recipes ,taking pictures, publishing the posts and waiting for the final verdict which lies in the feedback which I constantly get from each one of you:) THANKS to all !!! *takes a bow*

Today's post reminds me of my trip to Bangkok, when I was first introduced to Tom Yum Goong soup. This is a hot & fiery soup which has a medley of herbs which give this soup its distinct flavor which cannot be replicated without the quintessential Thai herbs,viz: lemon grass,galanghal which belongs to the rooty knotty ginger family and is a cross between ginger & pepper, kaffir leaves-which impart a citrucy flavor. We were at chatuchak weekend market which  I think  is not only the largest market in Thailand but also the largest in the world. You will find everything from clothes,artifacts,electronics to food here. Most of the stalls here open only on Saturdays and Sundays and stay open all day and  through the night.

 It was interesting to watch people savor the exotic dishes being served from even more exotic traditional pots. I was intrigued by so many different aromas and  could not stop but drool at the sight and smell of the food,we had come to the market on a full stomach but surprisingly after walking and shopping and bargaining for some time ,I was ready to indulge my taste buds to some of the exotic stuff I had been  feasting my eyes on . Mahir was ready too-So we found this very interesting sit-out restaurant which seemed to be buzzing with people around 1:00 A.M in the morning, when in a new place always judge the restaurant by the number of people in there. We had a strong hunch about this restaurant's popularity and sat down on one of the tables and took some time looking at the menu, all the local names  for the dishes were somewhat overwhelming and honestly we were stumped by it all. We watched the waiter who was bringing the orders to other tables and figured out that there was one dish which was being ordered more frequently than others. We closed in on that and asked the waiter to get us what he had just served on the other table,he was a smart waiter and excitedly explained what we should anticipate,he could also talk a little English so we felt confident with our order which was Thailand's most popular and the yummiest soup-tom Yum Goong.

I found this picture on the net - I want everyone to see how Tom Yum Goong is authentically served in Thailand and this is how me & Mahir enjoyed this hot and flavorful soup from this  traditional Chinese hot-pot , which keeps the soup piping hot till you have savored the last tiny sip. Tom Yum Goong is typically the soup with prawns and some straw mushrooms and large pieces of galanghal which is tender and is not as pungent as ginger.This soup is fiery hot and distinctly sour with so many refreshing flavors from the different herbs.

The rest of our stay in Bangkok was a culinary delight, but Tom Yum Goong remains my favorite till date . I craved this soup more often than I imagined I would and that was around the time I had just relocated to  the US and I had no clue where I could find all the herbs,so on one of Mahir's business trips to Bangkok,I asked him to get some lemon grass,galanghal and kaffir lime leaves . My friend Sunita in Bangkok offered to shop for all this and packed it nicely for Mahir to carry it on the flight back. It has now been  a little over 6 years here and I have found my way to all the exotic ingredients.You should look for all these in an Asian store/oriental food market  or sometimes the street vendors in China town also carry these.  I was excited to make this soup at home with all the fantastic herbs Mahir managed to sneak in  on the flight for me :0

Here is the picture of the soup I made and continue to make till date:)

Prawns: 10
Kaffir  Lime leaves: 4-6
Lime juice: 2 tbsp
Water : 6 cups
Straw mushrooms or oyster mushrooms: 8-10
Red Chilli Paste: 1 tsp or 1 tbsp depends on your tolerance for spices (nam prig pow)
Lemon grass: 1 long stem
Fish sauce: 2 tsp or to taste
Galanghal: 2 inch piece cut into medium sized rounds
Cilantro: to garnish

Notes: Crush the lemon grass  with the back of a pestle  to release its flavors,  kaffir lime leaves can unfortunately not be substitued by any other ingredient as these impart a very distinct flavor to the soup . I have also used celery,and wanted you to know it is optional.

Method: Take the water  in a pan and add galanghal,lemon grass , kaffir lime leaves and  mushrooms and let it boil for 5 minutes .When all the flavors from the herbs have released ,take it off the flame and add the cleaned and deveined prawns and cover the pan. Do not boil the prawns lest they  become hard and rubbery. After a couple minutes add the fish sauce,chilli paste and lime juice  and garnish it with lots of  chopped cilantro. You can add more or less fish sauce,chilli paste depending on your taste . This soup tastes good when it is hot and sour :)                                                                                                


  1. Congrats on your 100th post and wish many more...This dish looks yummy and sounds new to me.

  2. congrats on 100 th post..

    I am amazed by that pic..that's a unique way to serve ..and its very unique dish too

  3. Congrats on ur 100th post !!! Keep Rocking !!

    This dish is very new to me !! Looks delicious !!

  4. Congrats dear....wishing you many more...Soup looks superb....great pics too...


  5. congrats on ur 100th post..wish u many more milestones like this

  6. Congrats on 100th post, hope to see more yummy post from you! Looks perfect and so yummy, this is my favorite too....

  7. Congrats on your 100th post Kavita....very true, time just flies..specially when you are doing something that you are passionate about.
    I love this soup too...these days all these exotic herbs are easily available in India.

  8. Yummy yum! I love, LOVE tom yum soup- the flavor is totally haunting! I have this recipe in my space too but I made it without the chili paste as I couldn't find it in the Doha stores!

  9. Congrats on this milestone!!! And totally loved the presentation!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  10. Congrtas ono your 100th post that too within a short span of time. Keep rocking Kavita !! This Bangkok special soup looks delicious. Sweet gesture from your friend ..

    Hamaree Rasoi

  11. Congrats on you 100th post...... i will you do many more posts

  12. Congrats on ur 100th post Kavita, keep rocking gal..TomYum Goong tempts me a lot,soo inviting..

  13. Congrats Kavita on your milestone...tom yum soup looks awesome :)

  14. Congrats on your 100th post..keep your blog dear..
    Soup looks so tempting,spicy, tangy and delicious.

  15. First time here on your blog and happy to see that it is a special occasion for u...and congrats keep going you have a wonderful blog...I will be here again.

  16. Tom Yum looks awesome.Loved the way you have served this.Congrats on your 100th post

  17. congrats on your mile stone. the soup looks delicious

  18. Congrats on ur 100th post Kavita, keep rocking gal..TomYum Goong tempts me a lot,soo inviting..

  19. That looks delicious Kavita! Congrats on your 100th post :)

  20. Thanks friends for your wishes :)!!!

  21. Congrats on the 100th post.Soup looks delicious.

  22. Congrats on your 100th post, keep rocking!
    Happy to follow your posts!

    Vegetarian Cultural Creatives

  23. Hi Kavita, Congratulations, on you 100th post...and many more to come. (I am just past my 200th post, forgot to mention even the
    Love the spicy shrimp soup...the spicier, the better. Yumm!

  24. Congrats have a great blog. All the recipies look so yum.

  25. Happy 100th!!! and congrats!!!

    this is totally new to me...sounds amazing....

  26. this is my thing.......i fell sick over this two days back...recovering but give it to me now i can still have!!!!!!!!


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