Tom Yam Gung (Shrimp and Lemongrass Soup)
Do you ever have those days where you simply crave something from your childhood? That is exactly what happened to me. Most of the time people crave some type of comfort food like mom’s mac & cheese or meatloaf or even an apple pie. But today, that wasn’t the case. Today I was seriously craving something Asian and not your average run of the mill Chinese takeout (which is completely Americanized). I wasn’t something that you really can’t get at a restaurant. You can only get it from someone’s house who knows how to cook authentic Asian cuisine. Since my mom lives in Pennsylvania and I live in Indiana, my only solution was to call her up on the phone, ask her what I needed, and take a trip to the local Asia Mart.
The freshness from the lemongrass make this probably one of the most popular Thai soups out there. And if you really want to eat it authentically, you pour a little on your jasmine rice as flavoring. But if you don’t eat grains, you can eat a big bowl of this broth-y soup either with your meal or as a light meal by itself. Due to the pungent flavor of the lime leaves and lemongrass, this soup is perfect for all seasons. It’s a refreshing summer soup but since it’s hot it makes a great winter treat too! I’ve made it with shrimp but my mom said you can also make it with chicken if you’d prefer.
For any of you who do Whole30 or follow the Paleo diet, I’ve made sure that this recipe is 100% compliant. Enjoy!
4 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
4-inch piece of tender lemongrass, roughly chopped (you don’t want to eat this)
1-2 limes, freshly squeezed to taste
6 tablespoons fish sauce (I use Red Boat which doesn’t have sugar)
1-2 small fresh red or green chilies, roughly chopped (optional – I don’t like the heat so I don’t use them)
16 straw mushrooms, cut in half (canned mushrooms will do)
1/2 pound raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1. In a pot, heat the stock and add the lime leaves, lemongrass, fresh lime juice, fish sauce, and chilies (if you are using them). At this point I would taste the broth to determine if it has enough lemon/lime flavor to the broth. If not – add more lime juice. Bring it to a boil and simmer for two minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and shrimp and cook for a further two to three minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. Be sure not to overcook your shrimp!
2. Pour into soup bowls and serve.