Tom yum goong, or tom yum kung, is a popular kind of Thai soup. Unlike the regular soups, which are mild, this soup is spicy, hot and sour. Prawns are the major ingredient of this soup. Prawns are known as Goong or Kung in Thai. Ingredients like tamarind and lemon make it sour. Chilli pepper and pepper corns are added to it to make it hot and spicy.
The most important ingredient of this soup is prawns. Remove the heads and shells of the prawns after washing them, but keep their tails. We will be using the heads and shells too to make the stock, so dont throw them away immediately. Using a knife carefully, devein the prawns.
Next is to make the stock of Tom yum goong, or tom yum kung soup. Saute the heads and shells of prawns in a tablespoon of oil . They will turn deep orange after about 10 minutes, meaning they are done. They are to be added 3/4th cup of water and 2 tablespoons of red curry paste after that. The mixture will reduce at this stage; but broth is to be made of it, in that case, adding a jug of water will increase its volume. Boil the mixture for 20 minutes. Remember that it is this liquid that we need to make the soup and not the heads and shells, so now throw them away. Filter the liquid and separate them from it.
Now add other ingredients like 2 tablespoons of processed tamarind, 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of finely cut red chillies and 5 shredded kafir lime leaves. Prawns are not to be added now, but should be added afterwards. After the mixture boils for another 2-3 minutes, you have to add them. To let the prawns get cooked well, let the mixture boil for another 5 to 6 minutes. If their color has turned light pink, that means they are cooked well. You can now turn the heat off.
Now is the time of addition of some more contents. They are 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar and 3 teaspoons of lime juice and 3 teaspoons of fish sauce. In order to mix them well with the previous mixture, toss or stir them. And hey, you have made it! Serve it hot by garnishing with a lot of coriander leaves.
To make the red curry paste, grind together 12 dry red chillies soaked in hot water, 3 tablespoons of chopped shallot, 4 tablespoons of chopped garlic, a tablespoon of chopped galangal, 2 tablespoons of chopped lemon grass, 2 teaspoons of chopped kafir lime rind, a tablespoon of chopped coriander root and 20 pepper corns in mortar or blender to a fine paste. To this, add a teaspoon of cumin and a tablespoon of coriander seeds, roasted for 3-4 minutes and a teaspoon of shrimp paste. You can do here some additional effort to make your paste tastier. Grill your shrimp paste by wrapping it in a foil for 2-3 minutes and then add it to the red curry paste. A fine paste should be made of all these ingredients. Keep this paste stored in a glass jar with an air-tight lid on it and keep it in refrigerator, thus you can use it for 2 to 3 months to prepare tasty Tom yum goong, or tom yum kung soup. BOLA TANGKAS