Sweet, Salty, Sour and hot

Simple though they may be in technique,Thai soups encompass an enormous array of tastes and textures.It can however be so easy to get carried away when making these stock based soups. Since the essence is in simplicity,you are relying on the quality of your stock and only a few ingredients need to be added to perfume that stock.Contrary to what you would normally expect of me, I would recommend exercising restraint.A little fresh ginger,some garlic,some spring onion, coriander and perhaps a cabbage leaf is all that is required. This particular soup is an exercise in that simplicity.
Dtom yam gung 
Hot and sour prawn soup 
Tender prawns and squishy, slurpable noodles swim in this spicy broth of deliciously satisfying hot and sour soup. To most people dtom yam is this ubiquitous hot and sour soup of prawns, but dtom yam in fact encompasses a vast range of dishes from extremely basic to highly complex - dtom simply means to boil and yam to mix or toss together.At its most identifiable a dtom yam is a soup that is flavoured with lemongrass,perfumed by kaffir lime leaves and seasoned with lime juice,fish sauce and chillies resulting in a balance that is sweet salty, sour and hot.When done well,and it can easily be achieved at home, it is easy to understand why this dish has become a culinary classic,However when poorly executed it becomes a culinary cliche.This can be avoided simply by using fresh quality ingredients:freshly squeezed lime juice.pungent birds eye or piri piri chillies,fresh kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass.
Servings 3
12 uncooked prawns,unpeeled
1 medium sized chilli sliced
4 cups stock,chicken,fish or vegetable
6 birds eye chillies
large handful coriander stalks finely chopped
2 stalks lemongrass.finely minced
4 kaffir lime leaves
2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
teaspoon Sriracha sauce
dessert spoon golden caster sugar
4 cups prawn broth
tablespoon lime juice, half a lime,reserved after juicing
reserved half a lime quartered
for serving
chopped spring onion
fresh coriander and basil leaves

Peel the prawns, keeping the heads and shells. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the prawn shells and heads with the sliced chilli until they have toasted and changed colour. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer.after 8 to 10 minutes strain and set aside.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and submerge. Allow to soak according to package directions. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water. 

Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a medium pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass coriander stalks and chillies. Cook about 5 minutes to soften. Add sriracha  lime juice, quartered lime sugar, soy sauce and prawn broth, Taste test and adjust seasonings if desired. Raise heat and bring to a simmer.Add the reserved shelled prawns at the end and cook until they change colour.
Divide noodles and prawns into bowls and ladle broth and over noodles and prawns. Top with spring onion, coriander and basil leaves.


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