I love themed dinners...I'm such a dork! As I was getting groceries for the Thai Papaya Salad, I just had this urge to make Tom Yum to go with it. I order Tom Yum every time I eat Thai, it is a must or I will not be satisfied. A lot of people compare Tom Yum to the Vietnamese Canh Chua. I guess I can see the similarity due to the tartness of both soup, but they both have their own unique flavors. Tom Yum has a sharp fragrance from the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, definitely a sinus clearing smell. The broth of Tom Yum is more briny and sour whereas canh chua is more sweet and sour. I guess it just irritates me when people tell me we are going to eat Lau Thai (Thai Hotpot) but we are really eating Canh chua?
What I really wanted to get out of this soup is as a lot of fragrance and flavor from the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. I did this by letting the lemongrass and lime leaves simmer in chicken broth for over an hour, to the point where the lemongrass falls apart. Believe me it will make a difference! Another thing I love about Tom Yum is you can a lot of different type of proteins. Don't get me wrong because I do love Canh Chua, but I feel it taste best with catfish. For this recipe I will stick with shrimp and squid. Feel free to use other shellfish or even meat!
4 cans of chicken broth
1/2 lb of shrimp (peeled)
1/2 lb of squid (cut into smaller portion)
3 stalks of lemongrass
4-5 kaffir lime leaves
4 roma tomatoes (cut into quarter)
1/2 yellow onions (cut vertically into medium strips)
1 cup of sliced button mushroom
cilantro for garnish
1. Cut the lemon grass in half and bruise it with the handle of your knife.
2. Bring chicken broth to a boil and throw in the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. Cover the pot and let simmer for an hour. If the broth reduces too much just add water.
3. Flavor the broth with 1-2 tablespoon of fish sauce, 1/2 tablespoon of sugar, 1/3 tablespoom of tamarid powder, 2 teaspoon of mushroom seasoning, and fresh chilies.
4. Add tomatoes and let cook for 5 minutes and then add mushroom and onions.
5. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the shrimp and squid. Cook them last so they will be fresh when you are ready to serve.
6. Top off with little bit of cilantro.