With a virus making the rounds, my most recent guests were offered Tom Yum Soup at iftar – this soup has recently been studied for its immunity boosting agents and with the influx of Asian ingredients into the market, it is actually possible to make! A popular Thai soup, Tom Yum Soup is lemony to clear the sinuses and hearty enough to get your body healing.
When I found the different recipes for this soup, I realized that there were some ingredients missing – as always, this is the version which can be done here, in Cairo, and tastes fabulous.
3-4 cups of water with 2 chicken stock cubes (this serves two people with a little to spare for seconds)
1 stalk lemon grass (available at Alfa Market, as well as other stores – remove the leaves and ends of the stalk and finely chop the stalk in the middle)
14 medium shrimp, shelled and raw
2 tablespoons fish sauce (available at a number of grocery stores and at Gourmet)
handful of mushrooms, sliced (preferably shitake but they can be regular mushrooms)
dried crushed chili to taste
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped small
½ can coconut milk
1 teaspoon red curry paste
¼ cup coriander (preferably fresh)
Lime juice from 2 limes
With that many ingredients, the directions are relatively easy. Start by boiling the lemon grass in the stock for five minutes until it is fragrant.
Add in all the other ingredients except the shrimp and coriander. Boil generously to get flavors mixed in.
Taste your soup, put more coconut milk to thicken, more lime to make less salty, and more fish sauce if it is not salty enough.
Add in the shrimp and boil for 10 minutes before serving so they do not get tough.
Add coriander to bowls when serving.