The Thai soup called tom yum is not so different from the Filipino sinigang. Tom yum is sour and spicy, but more aromatic and with fresher undertones than sinigang due to the lemongrass stalks and kaffir lime leaves that are added to the broth during cooking.
And, like sinigang, tom yum is a versatile soup. It can be made with shrimps, fish, chicken or pork. There are so strict rules as to what vegetables can be added. It’s even possible not to add any. It’s really about the broth, after all, which is traditionally clear although “modern” versions sometimes includes coconut milk. This is a recipe for the more traditional tom yum. I’ll reserve the coconut milk version for another day.
Tom yum soup: Thai flavors in a bowl
- 1/2 kilogram cut-up pork ribs (or a combination of pork ribs and pork belly)
- 2 stalks lemongrass (white portion only), lightly pounded
- 1 to 2 pairs kaffir lime leaves
- 1 shallot halved
- 2 finger chilies
- 5 to 6 slices galangal (substituting ginger will give the soup and different flavor)
- 1 tomato thinly sliced
- patis (fish sauce) (fish sauce)to taste
- juice of 3 to 4 limes
- Place the pork in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil, skimming off scum that rises.
- Add the lemongrass stalks, kaffir lime leaves, shallot halves, chilies, galangal and tomato slices. Season lightly with fish sauce. Simmer until the pork is tender.
- Turn off the heat. Pour in the lime juice. Stir, taste and add more fish sauce, if needed, to balance the flavors.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve.