October 9th, 2008


Naresuan 1, Nergal 0

What I would have twittered today if I twittered: "Tom Yum Kai Soup Recipe, Ergo All Else, Lost."

I've had the Chest Cold From Hell (the one everyone has, apparently) all weekend as punishment for enjoying myself too thoroughly while apple picking on Saturday. So I determined to make my famous Tom Yum Kai soup and cure myself and mollpeartree through the magic of Warming Heat. But today I emptied out my little recipe box and hunted all over the kitchen to no avail: The card for my absolutely perfect Tom Yum Kai recipe had vanished, carried up to Olympus by the jealous gods, most likely.

So I was forced to re-create it in much the same way I created it: Hunting all across the Internet for tom yum kai recipes. I shan't keep you in suspense any longer: I found the Ur-Recipe from which I had derived the perfected dish here; it's by a chef in Bangalore, India, of all things, and it is truly wonderful.

The search was perhaps unnecessarily lengthened by his choice of transliteration: tom yam gai instead of tom yum kai. But while searching, I discovered all manner of other ways to make tom yum soup, and decided to run a change-up on my perfected dish and add more Stuff in the quest for Mega-Health. I think I succeeded, what say you all?

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A Note on Ingredients: The garlic, shallots, and tomatoes are my additions for Mega-Health, over and above the already mighty health benefits of chicken, ginger, galangal, lime, and chile hotness. Finding tom yum paste probably means a trip to your nearest Thai or pan-Asian supermarket: I bought mine at Broadway Supermarket (4879 N. Broadway) and one tub has lasted me a good while. (I have a spare tub in the pantry.) It also provided massaman curry paste and other wonderful goodies. A return visit snagged me my galangal, which is like ginger and coriander having a party in your mouth. Broadway also has Gigandous Bags of dried shiitake mushrooms for like a nickel, and has thus comprehensively spoiled me for buying shiitakes anywhere else. Broadway has, however, consistently let me down in the matter of Kaffir lime leaves, which is just as well for my Calvinist soul, given the thin-ness of the boundary between this fallen world and the divine when it comes to this soup, and to shopping in Asian supermarkets.