02 February 2011

Goong Xi Fa Cai!


I've got so much to blog about - a (not so) recent trip to Beirut and Istanbul where my companions and I ate particularly well and tried a dish we know we will never eat again, a Coq au Vin Blanc recipe I tried which was tres easy and delicious, and my favourite salad place just around the corner from where I live.

Instead, I thought I would blog about a trusty Tom Yam Goong recipe that has come in handy the past 3 years when helping my mum prepare the reunion dinner of Steamboat/Hot Pot. I used to think that there was nothing that could beat the convenience of pre-packaged Tom Yam Goong paste that only required a bit of hot water to turn into a fiery and satisfying red soup. When I received the cookbook
'Inside the Southeast Asian Kitchen' as a gift, and read how easy it was to make Tom Yam Goong from scratch, I was pleasantly surprised and strangely compelled to try it for myself. The most time consuming part is probably making a trip down your local supermarket to find the ingredients - the most elusive of which is probably the galangal. Once you've gotten your hands on the 8 main ingredients, you literally need only 10 minutes to peel/slice/crush before everything bubbles away in a pot. I've never looked back since.
Tom Yam Goong for Steamboat
Serves 4
Shells and heads of 400 gms of prawns (raw prawns can be served for guests to cook in the hot pot)
5 bird's-eye chillies, crushed
2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
2 cm piece of galangal (blue ginger), thinly sliced
4 kaffir lime leaves, torn
6 coriander roots, crushed
Fish sauce
Lime juice (I like mine from the bottle for the kick that is sometimes difficult to pin down with fresh limes. These bottles of lime juice can be found at Thai-specialty stores such as those in Golden Mile Centre.)
Place prawn heads and shells in a large pot, and cover it with 1 liter of water
Bring to boil then add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and coriander root.
Simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Skim off scum as you go.
Add lime juice and fish sauce by the tablespoons to taste
Just before serving, add chillies. (To increase the heat, add more chillies or simmer the stock a while longer before serving)

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