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Original recipe yields 5 servings
Absolutely wonderful- complex and fragrant, and quite easy to make! I made only a few modifications, and with or without my suggestions, this recipe will result in a really interesting mix of hot, sour, and citrus flavors that is guaranteed to bring you compliments. I highly recommend that you take the time to look for the ingredients and not make substitutions. But, if you can't find galangal, add 2-3 teaspoons of minced ginger, and if you can't find kaffir lime leaves use an equal amount of lime zest. If you have to make substitutions, it's a very good idea to include the tom yum soup paste, which this recipe suggests is optional. That paste contains galangal, tamarind, dried shrimp, fennel, and peanut. It's usually sold in small jars and can be found near soy and Szechuan sauces. Now for my modifications: First, I used 4 cups of vegetable stock instead of 4 cups of water. Second, I modified the chilis to lessen the heat and the bite-- I did this by halving the amount of chili paste and by delaying the addition of the whole chilis until the very end, along with the shrimp and the mushrooms. Third, although the recipe does not indicate whast kind of mushrooms to use, I recommend either straw mushrooms or oyster mushrooms. Fourth, I take out the kaffir lime leaves and the lemon grass before serving because they aren't pleasant to eat. Fifth, I add a fresh kaffir leaf to each bowl for garnish.
I made this hours ago, and my lips are still tingling! I am SO happy to have found this recipe. I made a 30 mile round trip to get all the ingredients from the grocers which is attached to our fave Thai restaurant, and all I can say is that is was totally worth the time and effort. I would not recommend making this with substitutions - dried lemon grass, ginger, lime zest, etc are simply nowhere near as good as the real thing. Also, the lemon grass I buy is very thick and woody, so I just strip off the outer layers and cut it in half so that I can easily pick it out when it is done cooking (I cannot imagine actually eating it). Similarly, make sure you pick out the galangal and lime leaves after it's done cooking (sorry if I am stating the obvious, but some people might not know). Oh, and I used canned straw mushrooms because that's what the restaurant uses. Apart from adding a little more fish sauce, and also a shrimp bouillon cube, I made this as written. I can hardly believe it's homemade! Thank you SO much, Michelle!
I love Tom Yum soup but not as much as the BF does. So this has been a fun adventure. The only reason I don't give this 5 stars is I have made it 3 times and it still doesn't taste like my fav. restaurant’s. I'm getting closer. The first time we simply couldn't find some of the ingredients. The kaffir lime leaves, galangal, chile padi (bird's eye chiles), and chile PASTE were so hard to find. And unlike what some reviewers have said and other places online the kaffir leaves make a difference, the zest isn't quite the same. The opposite is true with galangal I read everywhere that it had a truly unique flavor you can't quite get from anything else. What a headache. Its literally Thai ginger. A few tips. 4 chiles are too much, and I LOVE spicy food (then again I cut mine in half). DO NOT TRY TO FIND THESE AT YOUR LOCAL ALL IN ONE FOOD STORE GO TO AN ASIAN MARKET THE FIRST TIME.