Tom Yum Kung - Thai Hot and Sour Soup
If Thailand has a national food, Thai Hot and Sour Soup (Tom Yum Kung) is it. While the recipe calls for shrimp, any seafood will do and chicken can be substituted without altering the recipe -- in which case you have Tom Yum Kai, or Hot and Spicy Chicken Soup.
- 1 pound of medium-size shrimp
- 1 dozen mushrooms
- 1 stalk lemongrass
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 3 lime leaves
- 6 green peppercorns
- 3 slices fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of fish sauce (or 4 tablespoons of 4 soy sauce)
- 3 tablespoons of lime juice
- 6 hot peppers, pounded lightly (less, depending on taste)
- 1/2 cup of roughly chopped coriander (cilantro leaves)
Remove the shrimp shell but leave the tails (for appearance). Then cut open the back of each shrimp to remove the veins. Clean the mushrooms with water and dry them well before cutting each into quarters. Trim root and tough layers from lemon grass. Thinly slice first six inches. Bring 2 cups of stock to boil.
Bring 4 cups of water to boil, then add the stock, lemon grass, lime leaves, and shrimps. When the shrimps turn pink, add mushrooms, ginger, peppercorns and salt. Remove the pot from heat after boiling. Add fish sauce, lime juice, and hot peppers to taste.
Serve the soup while still hot in individual soup cups and top each cup with a sprinkle of coriander.