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Thai hot and sour soup

By August 30, 2022 , ,

I've always had love affair with Thai food, simple fresh, tasty, what more could you want. The great thing about Thai food is its simplicity, but the trick is getting the flavours right. Where the recipes may require quite a few ingredients and the method isn't difficult, the complexity lies within getting the right mix of hot, sour, salty and sweet.

I was lucky enough after my year at Leiths School of Food and Wine to travel to Thailand and experience the food first hand. It was one of the countries that I'd always wanted to visit just for the food and I wasn't disappointed. I also spent a day at the Chiang Mai cookery school and got to meet Sompon Nambian who runs the school and whose TV program I used to follow religiously on a UK TV food channel.

I don't think I can convey enough how much I love Thai food. I'm quite happy to spend a fortune on ingredients to make the paste from scratch (and yes it makes all the difference). I like to make the pastes in a mortar and pestle. A little tip when dealing with fibrous ingredients such as ginger, galangal and lemongrass is to grate them using a fine grater as it means you don't have as many fibres in your paste or curry.
As well as Thai green or red curry I love to make Hot and Sour soup and also a variation with coconut milk. I love this soup and its my go-to when I don't don't feel like strenuous cooking. It is a case of throwing the ingredients in a pot of water and giving it a bit of time and minimal effort to come out with something tasty and rewarding. I usually make the broth the day before and leave all the aromatics in overnight, it makes for a more flavoursome soup.

To make the broth
2 sticks lemongrass, crushed
15g ginger unpeeled
2 cloves garlic crushed
30g coriander stems or roots
2 shallots, quartered
1 tomato quartered
5 Lime leaves
4 mushrooms quartered
2 chillies (red or green)
1 litre of water, chicken stock or fish stock

Place all ingredients into a pan
Add the water or (flavoured if using stock) and bring to the boil and then simmer for an hour on a low heat
Let the broth sit for a few hours with a lid on, or even better overnight, before straining

For the soup
4 Lime leaves
20g coriander chopped
1 Tomato cut into eighths
5 mushrooms thinly sliced
Juice of one lime
10ml Fish sauce
1 red chilli finely chopped
5ml soy sauce
5g palm sugar
Mange tout julienned
1 medium carrot julienned
100ml coconut milk (optional)

You can then add the following dependent on if you are going to make a fish or meat soup

10 uncooked prawns 
Leftover roast chicken breast or thigh (chopped)

Bring the stock to a simmer
Add the tomato, mushrooms, chilli and lime leaves and simmer for 5 mins
Season with the soy, fish sauce, sugar and lime juice (you are looking for hot, sour, salty and sweet so add more of any of the seasoning to get the flavour you want)
Add the prawns or chicken and cook for another 5 mins
If adding coconut milk, then pour it in now and stir through, adjust the seasoning if necessary
Garnish with the coriander

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