Monday, February 20, 2012

Tom Yum

Yum is right. This is what I usually order when I go out for Thai food. So, when my sis gave me a few kaffir Limes, I knew I wanted to try to make my own version. I have made it a few times, and now, a year later, my kaffir limes are dry and hard as little rocks, but I whip out my micro plane and they still give off a very, very powerful flavor, so I use a minuscule amount.  If you have enough of the ingredients that give this soup its unique flavor, then you can definitely give it a go.

You will need:

Kaffir lime, fruit or leaves (or try it out with a regular old lime, but it won't be quite the same. I bet you can find Kaffir vegetation somewhere in Chinatown.)
Fresh Galangal or Ginger root
Coconut milk
Tofu or chicken

I add in red bell pepper, bay leaves, garlic, and cilantro for good measure. As you may have noticed, this recipe is also vegan, and so far, other than a few items left in our fridge, we are eating mostly vegan. Today, however, I was able to fortuitously and finally purchase eggs from our across the street and over a little bit neighbor. Apparently, they have 14 hens and charged me $1.50 for a dozen of these beautiful speckled, green, and brown eggs. I feel good about consuming animal products when I know that I am funding a worthwhile operation. I think that was a part of the reason we decided to stop investing so much money in animal products in the first place, because we can't always afford to buy from trustworthy suppliers. If you are interested, I highly recommend checking out the Monterey Bay Aquarium's list of sustainable (and in most cases, more nutritious) seafood to purchase. Buying wild Alaskan salmon isn't just better for the environment, it actually lives up to the health benefits you are after anyway.

Tom Yum Soup
1 Tablespoon of lemongrass dried
1-2 bricks of firm tofu, cut into cubes (or sub out cooked cubed chicken)
1/2 onion, cut the onion in half, then slice it
1 pkg of mushrooms
Kaffir lime leaves or a tiny amount of the zest of the fruit OR zest a regular lime. Use a small amount and taste!
1/2 red bell pepper, diced (optional)
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 Tablespoon fresh ginger root or galangal, minced
2-3 small tomatoes
1/2 can regular coconut milk
1-2 Bay leaves (optional)
Cilantro for garnish (optional)
Salt or soy sauce to taste

Heat up two cups of water in a soup pot. Add the lemon grass either in a tea ball or a tea bag, or resign yourself to having to later strain out the lemongrass and return the liquid to the pot--no big deal. Boil the water and lemongrass for 5-8 minutes, covered. Strain out the lemongrass. Now add all of your other ingredients in and simmer for at least 8-10 minutes to get that nice flavor from the leaves. Covered, uncovered, whatever--you can't mess this up.

I cooked a mixture of brown and wild rice and put this in the bottom of my bowl for some extra rib stickiness.

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