Southeast Asian soup to warm the soul


YUM YUM Tom yum soup is a tasty, healthy winter-warming dish from Thailand and Laos.


Redmond Cabot

It’s been a busy few weeks in the Cabot household. We have recently had not one but two dolphin-shaped birthday cakes for little Penny, an influx of meat into the household for some monster pot-stews for visiting WWOOFers*, several more versions of roasted fennel soups, and a run on a soup called tom yum – this week’s recipe.
As always the message is: Use fresh, natural, whole, ingredients where you can. Only fresh ingredients deliver the essential nutrients and building blocks required for a healthy body and healthy mind. Short cuts are only that!
Even if in the future, humans end up consuming just one coloured pill every mealtime for all their nutrients, I’ll sticking to tasty, fresh, natural produce. With the onset of winter, any warming, immune-boosting meal is greatly appreciated.
Tom-yum soup does use some processed ingredients, but their marriage with fresh ingredients means there’s plenty to make your body sing! The taste is slightly hot and sour, with plenty of heat. Making it is a three-stage process, with no frying of anything beforehand.

Tom yum soup
Originally from Thailand and Laos, ‘tom’ refers to the boiling process, while ‘yum’ (or ‘yam’) refers to a spicy and sour salad. This soup is normally cooked with prawns and often a meat stock – however, we don’t often have prawns to hand out here in Lanmore, so we make it with veg stock and vegetables. The key ingredients for winter immune boosting are the fresh ginger, the lemongrass and the fresh lime juice. The coconut milk and the fish sauce add the umami flavour. We made a version last night without fish sauce (the bottle was empty), and it lacked its normal appeal.
Most tom yum recipes call for galangal, but we substitute ginger for that. (Note: the ginger pieces float around the soup adding flavour, but most people don’t eat them). We use carrots too, which are not in regular recipes; we find them great for their colour and their nutrients.

What you need

  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped small
  • 750ml veg stock
  • Three-inch piece of peeled ginger, chopped roughly
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, chopped into two-inch pieces
  • 1 tbsp tom-yum paste from a small jar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped into sticks
  • Juice of one lime
  • A bunch of red cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • Handful of mangetout, or broccoli florets if you prefer

What you do
Stage 1: In a saucepan place your red onion, stalks of lemon grass, ginger, carrots and coconut milk. Bring to the boil for five minutes.
Stage 2: Add the veg stock and the tablespoon of tom yum paste. Boil for five mins.
Stage 3: Add your mangetout (or broccoli), and the cherry tomatoes. (If you fancy some mushrooms you could add them at this stage; we tend not to use them.) Also add in your fish sauce and lime juice. Boil for another five minutes. Serve with pasta, rice or noodles,
This soup is robust, cleansing and very tasty. Easy to make, easy to eat. I like that!

*World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms workers.

Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.