Adventures with Tom Yum
I have had some escapades with Tom Yum soup. I have enjoyed many a spicy and sour soup in Thai restaurants, but my attempts to recreate those at home have Not Been Good. I have followed a recipe of the wondeful Charmaine Solomon painstakingly, only to have it taste, kind of dreary. I have sampled a couple of paste packets from my local Asian grocery, but it didn't come remotely close. And I am not the kind of girl who can put up with boiling prawn peelings for long.
And then I found John MeEwan. Well, that is his pastes I guess. I don't actually recall the first time my eyes met Tom Yum in this guise - I suspect it was at the now defunct David Jones speciality store Foodchain (oh Foodchain, how I loved you!). The fresh pastes come in a range of Thai curries, plus Tom Yum and Satay. The Satay Sauce is amazing (I can eat it out of the container with a packet of roti and not even bother to sit down before I'm halfway through) but the Tom Yum saved me from my poor accomplishments thus far.
This time I didn't quite follow the instructions on the container - I simply heated a couple of litres of water (no decent stock on hand) and added the paste. I cut up a large fillet of white rockling fish (very firm) and dropped it in. The lovely lady at the fish stand advised me to cook it for just four minutes, and once it came back to a simmer, that's what I did. In the meantime, I had sliced a capsicum, washed some baby greens and opened a can of coconut cream. Ladled out some soup and fish, added a couple of spoonfuls of coconut cream, the vegetables and a good squeeze of lemon.
Now this is not a traditional Tom Yum soup. For one thing, I suppose prawns should be included, not fish, and coriander not baby greens. And lime, not lemon. But on a weeknight, this is what I have to hand. It was spicy and fragant and delicious. Who could ask for more?