Tom yum

18 Apr

After fighting off viruses and all sorts of dodgy winter bugs valiantly for months, four days before my surgical placement began my body gave up fighting and succumbed to a nasty laryngitisy viral infection. Typical! My body was aching, I struggled to get up the stairs let alone get to the gym, I couldn’t sleep very well and my throat was not happy. Now normally when I’m sick (which, knock on wood, isn’t very often) I go into hibernation mode and eat whatever I want, press on through, and generally end up still worse for wear dayssss later. This time, I changed my plan of attack. I stuck to my healthy eating, kept well hydrated, took a day off to rest and Dapsy whipped up an incredibly nutritious and bug-busting Tom Yum soup. Three days later I was feeling better, four days on I was back at the gym (gently!), and a week on and I’m almost back to normal (although now my poor man is very ill, maybe I need to make him some Tom Yum too!).

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This soup is absolutely chocabloc with amazingness.

  • Lime leaves are said to aid in digestion and help to ‘cleanse’ the blood (okay, so I’m not entirely sure of the scientific basis behind the blood ‘cleansing’, but I’m going to roll with it…). IMG_2743
  • Ginger keeps cholesterol levels under wraps, soothes tummy aches and has a lovely warm-you-from-the-inside-out effect which helps everything to relax, improving blood flow to muscles and reducing those horrible fluey aches. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory and an anti-viral (perfect).
  • Chillies help to fight the inflammatory process (for those scientific minds, the capsaicin acts to reduce substance P, thereby reducing pain signals associated with inflammation) with fantastic anti-oxidant properties. They’re also high in vitamin C (which has been proven to contribute to viral infection bashing). They’re also wonderful for clearing out the ol’ sinuses, of course.
  • Lemongrass is (surprise, surprise) ALSO an anti-inflammatory agent! It’s also an anti-microbial, which means it acts like a sort of natural antibiotic, and has wonderful calming and soothing effects too.
  • Coriander is commonly used as a calming agent, is great for soothing aching muscles, and much like lemongrass has it’s own anti-microbial properties.
  • …and if you’ve made it yourself, chicken stock is packed full of great vitamins and minerals which give your poor overwhelmed immune system a jolly good boost.

So…essentially this is wonder-soup. Healing-soup. Amazing-soup.

I LOVE this soup.

Recipe (slightly adapted from Bill Granger’s recipe – honestly, get his book, his recipes are just fantastic!)

NB: this recipe is so easy to put together but the most difficult thing is sourcing some of the ingredients. Find yourself a local Asian whole foods store and buy a big bag of lime leaves and lemongrass, you can store them in the freezer and whip some out whenever you need them. If you’re around London comme moi, ‘Wing Yip’ in Croydon is where we get all of our bits and bobs. 

  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 red chillies, halved
  • 3 cm peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste (if you haven’t got tamarind, substitute with worcester sauce OR equal parts lime juice to brown sugar)
  • 200g rice noodles
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • Left over chicken, shredded with a fork
  • Small button mushrooms, halved
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bashed around a bit
  • Fresh coriander (optional, to serve)

Put stock, lime leaves, lemongrass, chillies, ginger, fish sauce, tamarind, mushrooms and 500ml water into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Once its boiling, reduce the heat to medium and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

Boil your kettle and stick your noodles in a glass bowl, then submerge in boiling water for about 3 minutes.

Add your tomatoes to the soup and leave on the heat for 1 more minute (you only want them warmed through, not so hot that they explode like little angry volcanoes in your poor mouth).

Drain your noodles and place into serving bowls. Ladle over some of your delicious cold-busting soup mix, top with your shredded chicken, chopped chilli and coriander leaves, and find a nice quiet place to enjoy some much deserved soupy R&R!


One Response to “Tom yum”

  1. The High Heel Gourmet April 26, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    hmmm…you will get the full REAL Thai flavor if you substitute the galangal for ginger that you use in your soup. Galangal is actually in the original recipe and would help your with your cold. When I have cold my grandma even add “Shallots” in to the soup too. She said it would “catch the cold” and leave me free of it ;)…lol…I still believed her until these days.

    BTW I just posted my Tom Yum recipe on my blog if you’re interested in the authentic recipe.

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