Wednesday, 18 May 2011

WorldFoods Fusion of Flavours Cooking Challenge 3: Tom Yum Soup


I have to be honest and tell you that up until now, I had never tasted Tom Yum soup. I've made variations of it - with coconut milk and red Thai curry paste - but if this stout little WorldFoods jar contains authentic Tom Yum flavours then I was just very, very surprised. It was spicy - the chillies being the first thing you taste - and then you get a very slight earthiness as a result of the galangal and a citrussy flavour from the kaffir lime leaves. Nothing at all like a generic Thai curry paste. And, once again it tasted fresh, aromatic and I really enjoyed it.



I added noodles to bulk out the soup and stirred in some frozen green beans along with the sliced mushrooms, to add both crunch and colour - as I didn't have any coriander to use as a garnish. The soft white noodles added substance to this rich, rust-coloured broth flecked with chopped red chillies. It is spicy, but comfortably so, and I didn't add coconut milk (although you can, to tame it) because I wanted to taste the full flavour of the soup. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves, if you have some - and add fresh raw prawns in the last few minutes of cooking if you have any of those. The soup was also not as watery as I thought it would be, but was relatively thick and silky (you only add 200ml water, it goes a long way). The whole dish also takes about 10 minutes from scratch to make, so as long as you have the Tom Yum paste, you can keep the rest of it handy in the cupboards and fridge and make as a last-minute dinner or lunch, if you need to.


Just a few points to note:
  • If you're adding vegetables, stop cooking the soup when they are just slightly crunchier than you like. The vegetables will continue to cook slightly as they sit in the hot liquid, so keep them crunchy to avoid soggy veg at the bottom.
  • It's best to cook the dried noodles in a separate pan of boiled water. Give them a quick rinse under the cold tap and this will remove any excess starch clinging to the noodles, making them easier to separate and less stodgy.
  • You only need to stir the Tom Yum paste in the hot pan for about a minute, until the spices release their fragrance. Don't overdo it.
Here's the recipe!

Tom Yum Soup with Vegetables
Serves 1 as a filling, hearty soup or 2 as a lighter soup

Ingredients
  • About 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons WorldFoods Tom Yum Paste
  • 200ml water
  • 3 medium sized chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • handful of frozen green beans
  • 1 nest of dried medium noodles
Method
  1. Put a small pan of water on to boil the noodles. While it comes to the boil, heat up the oil in a separate, larger saucepan and stir in the Tom Yum paste. Let it sizzle for about a minute until the spices become fragrant. Pour over 200ml water and leave it to bubble.
  2. The water for the noodles should now be boiling. Drop in the noodle nest and separate the strands as they soften, and leave to cook.
  3. Drop the mushrooms and green beans into the Tom Yum liquid and simmer until cooked.
  4. When the noodles are cooked, drain and rinse them under cold water and then add to the soup.
  5. Serve the noodles in deep bowls, with the vegetables and dark broth poured over the top.