Tom Yum soup is on the menu of nearly every Thai restaurant (in the U.S. anyway), and is usually made with shrimp or chicken. The soup tastes complex, but it is actually very simple to make, as you can see from this recipe which uses catfish. After taking this picture below, I actually added some fresh rice noodles and simmered the soup for a couple minutes longer. The starchy addition turned the typical appetizer dish into a more hearty meal.
Tom Yum Plah Dook
2 stalks lemongrass
4 c. chicken broth
1 catfish fillet, cubed bite-sized
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2 c. snow peas
1 shallot, sliced thinly
2 serrano chilies, seeded and minced
6 grape tomatoes, halved
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. lime juice
If using real lemongrass stalks, cut them down to the tender portion and whack the stalk with a knife handle to bruise the lemongrass. Place this with the chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes to extract the flavor into the broth, then remove the stalks and proceed. Alternatively, I used a couple of inches of minced lemongrass, squeezed from one of those tubes you can buy in the herb section at the grocery store now. It’s so finely minced that you don’t need to remove it from the broth. Simmer this with the broth for a few minutes before adding other ingredients.
Add fish, mushrooms, snow peas and shallot. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until fish is cooked. Add chilies and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes. [at this point, I added fresh rice noodles along with chilies and tomatoes for a more hearty soup] Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce and lime juice. Adjust seasoning as needed.
Adapted from: Real Thai, by Nancie McDermott