Please join me as I share my kitchen adventures and stumbles – simple food inspired by childhood memories, seasonal produce, esteemed chefs & cooks and my own travels. I also feature restaurants, delis and markets in South Africa and out, and all the fabulous things in between! I’m a cook and food and travel writer indulging in an intense love-affair with food, and the fabulous!
I was invited to present a dish on the Expresso Breakfast show to celebrate the Thai New Year. I am no expert – the cuisine does not form part of my cultural heritage. But, I have been cooking and eating Thai food since my late teens. The food we served on our wedding day, after much negotiation with the folks, was also Thai – Lamb Massaman curry (a south Thai dish of Muslim origin), mussels on the half shell in a green curry broth, jasmin rice, mango and lemongrass rice pudding. It was glorious, even if we finally got to eat in our honeymoon room in the early hours of the morning.
I decided to prepare a Tom Yum soup, ideal for this drastic change of weather in Cape Town.
That lovely balance between sour and hot. Nourishing but not fattening. Flu-blitzing but moreish. Tom Yum soup, that Thai classic -you can control the heat and the zing as you choose. I often use a sachet of Tom Yum paste but enhance the flavour with fresh limes, chilli, lemon grass, dried lime leaves and a little palm sugar.
You can watch me prepare it with the vivacious and ultra energetic Lee-Ann, in the video attached.
with liezel van der Westhuizen before the show
*My recipe was amended slightly by Expresso to include Knorr’s new and versatile stockpots*
1 l fish or chicken stock
1 T peanut or sesame oil (or vegetable if you don’t have)
12 prawns, shell on
1 sachet tom yum paste or
2 slices galangal (I use 2 t ground galangal paste)
1 t palm sugar (more if needed), and
1/2 lemon grass stalk, bruised and sliced
1 lime leaf
1 birds eye chilli, split in half
2 t fish sauce
1 1/2 -2 limes, juiced
1 cup exotic mushrooms, chopped roughly (optional)
1/3 spring onion, sliced
1/2 t palm sugar (if needed)
coriander leaves to garnish
*For Expresso show we used two Knorr stockpots, chicken stock*
De-shell the prawns.
In a pot on medium heat, add the oil. Add the prawn shells and cook till they just turn colour.
Add the paste, if using and fry for 30 seconds and then add the stock and bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Remove the prawn shells
If not using paste add the galangal and palm sugar.
Add remaining ingredients (except prawns) and cook for 3 minutes on simmer.
Add prawns and cook till they are done, approximately 2 -3 minutes.
Check seasoning, add palm sugar if needed and serve with extra squeeze of lime juice, spring onions and coriander leaves.
This soup, like most others, improves on standing. Prepare the night before and add fresh prawns a minute or two before serving.
Add a dash of coconut milk if preferred.
Just after the show the crew descended on the soup! Amusing to watch