Friday, April 9, 2010

Thai Soup: Tom Yung Goong

My fiance and I were fortunate enough to get to travel all around the world teaching English for a year. One of the countries we went to was Thailand and while there, I fell in love with a soup called "tom yung goong."

From Tom Yung Goon

It's a hearty coconut based curry soup. Don't leave yet! I don't usually care for coconut. I don't like pina coladas and I hate Mounds, but I love this soup. After a few weeks on a paleo plan, I realized that this soup was completely paleo from beginning to end, so I taught myself how to make it. This is a more involved recipe and takes a little time, making it a perfect weekend project.

Here is what I used:

From Tom Yung Goon
Let's start at 6:00: Cocounut milk (1.09), 1 chicken bouillon cube (0.10), 1 lb of chicken breast (2.99), 10 sprigs of cilantro (0.10), 3 limes, 1 yellow onion (0.60), 1/8 cup of tumeric (0.05), 2 tbs fish sauce (0.10), 1 tbs sesame oil (0.05), lemon grass (0.99), 1/2 a package of button mushrooms(1.15), cauliflower (1.39), and 2 jalapenos (0.17). not pictured: 1 tbs of coconut oil (0.15)

That's a total of 8.93 and I got 4 servings from this batch, so that's a total of about 2.23 per bowl.

This recipe seems really complicated, but it's really just a matter of getting everything in the picture above mixed in a pot and letting it boil for about an hour, so don't be intimidated!

The first thing you'll need to do is chop up the onions. Start simmering those with 1 tbs of coconut oil in a large pot.

From Tom Yung Goon
While those sweat, deseed one jalapeno and half of the other. Leave the seeds in half of a jalapeno for some heat. If you don't like spicy food, get rid of all the seeds. Chop those and add them to the pot. Next, chop and add the mushrooms. Finally, throw a tbs of sesame oil on all of that and stir it up. As these release their water, they'll create a little stock for our soup.

From Tom Yung Goon
Next, roughly chop up the cauliflower and add that to the pot. Mix up your pot to make sure there is a little oil on most of the veggies so they don't burn. Make sure the heat is on low.

From Tom Yung Goon

Mix 1 cup of hot water with the chicken bouillon and add that to the pot.

From Tom Yung Goon
(You probably didn't need a picture of that....oh well)

As that comes to a boil, fry up your chicken breast and set it aside to rest.

From Tom Yung Goon

Next, we need to get some flavor from the lemon grass. If you can find fresh lemon grass, just cut it, bruise it (crush it), and add it to the pot. It isn't edible, so make sure you pull it out before serving. If, like me, you have a hard time finding fresh lemon grass, you'll need to buy it dried. I like to boil it in water for a couple minutes to release the flavor. I use an emptied tea bag so I don't have to look for 100 pieces of dried lemon grass in the soup. I used the same pan as the chicken, hence the chicken bits in the water.

From Tom Yung Goon
From Tom Yung Goon
From Tom Yung Goon

Once the water turns yellow, dump all of it into your pot.
Now, stir in a can of cocounut milk and 2 tbs of fish sauce (yes I know it stinks, but it adds necessary flavor). Next, add 1/8 of a cup of tumeric in small amounts, stirring it in as you go so it doesn't clump up. Tumeric will stain anything it touches, so be careful. If you aren't careful, you'll look like you washed your hands with French's mustard.
From Tom Yung Goon

Finally, zest the 3 limes into the soup and mix in the cilantro.

From Tom Yung Goon
It will be about an hour before it's ready. It needs to boil on low heat until the cauliflower is tender. While this batch was boiling, I found a tomato that was about to go bad, so I added that to the mix. I like to make soups towards the end of the week to help use up ingredients that may go bad.

It's been an hour. Here is what your finished product will look like.

**When serving, stir in the juice of half of a lime and some fresh cilantro. This last step is the most important as it makes the soup taste fresh and cuts through all of that coconut fat.

This recipe is also made with seafood, so feel free to experiment and get back to me with the results!
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