With this classic tom yum soup, you can turn plain old water into the most gorgeously fragranced, warming bowl of epicness. Galangal is the crucial aromatic here for that authentic vibe – if you can’t get it, try using a tom yum paste instead. And do remember to squeeze in the lime juice with the heat turned off to ensure you don’t lose any of the vibrancy.
6 birds’ eye chillies
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and cut into thirds lengthways
5cm (2 inch) piece galangal, sliced
3 kaffir lime leaves
4 tbsp evaporated milk
3 tbsp nam prik pao*
200g (7oz) peeled and deveined prawns
100g cherry tomatoes, halved
100g (3.5oz) straw or button mushrooms, quatered
5 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp white sugar
3 stalks coriander (cilantro), leaves and stems roughly chopped
Use a mortar and pestle to lightly bruise the chillies. Set aside for later.
Place 4 cups of water, lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves in a saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes to infuse the flavours. Then add the prawns, tomatoes and mushrooms and chillies. Add the evaporated milk and the nam prik pao. Stir through to dissolve the nam prik pao. Simmer until prawns are just cooked.
Turn the heat off and add the fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Taste and season with extra fish sauce or lime juice to taste. The flavour should be tangy, salty and spicy.
Just before serving, stir through the coriander.
– Nam Prik Pao is a concentrated roasted Thai chilli jam. It often includes chillies, garlic, shallots, dried shrimp and shrimp paste. It’s available from Asian grocery stores or try Amazon or online Thai supermarkets.