Tom Yum Noodle Soup (pescatarian or vegan option)
Maybe this is an odd memory to associate with Dublin. You’d think oysters, Guinness, champ. But I used to catch an early plane to Dublin on a regular basis and meet colleagues in the airport. I’d been up so early, the meal felt like lunch to me and I didn’t fancy bacon and eggs, so we used to gather at the food court, and indulge in a Tom Yum soup. The combination of spice and creamy coconut, Thai red curry and coriander, tender prawns and juicy mushrooms was exactly right to re-set my inner clock and perk me up ready for the afternoon meetings. I still find that a home made version makes an energising and easy lunch, if you keep a few staples around.
I like the base made with chicken stock, of which I usually have a plentiful supply in the freezer, but you can make it with vegetable stock and use a stock cube. Infusing the stock with the aromatics is a key part of the recipe but you could do this ahead of time, reduce the stock again and keep it in the fridge to assemble the meal with only a few minutes notice.
A combination of prawns and chicken is traditional but you can change around the protein and the vegetables to suit your tastes and what you have in the house. Some chopped mushrooms add that chewy texture and contrast very nicely with the slippery rice noodles, so mushrooms, courgette and spring onion would make a good vegan option, maybe with some sliced baby corn for the protein. Try it and leave me a comment, I’d love to hear other versions.
Serves 4 Timings: 1 hour
Heat up your stock and add the infusion ingredients. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then leave to cool down with the spices in the liquid. Strain the stock, discard the spices. As above, you can poach the chicken breast in the stock while you do this.
Warm up the stock in your soup pan, add the Thai red curry paste and stir in well. Add the chopped green vegetables, the mushrooms and most of the spring onions, simmer for a few minutes. Add the prawns and the chicken pieces.
Add the fish sauce and the lime juice to the soup, bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 minutes.
Add the coconut milk to the pan and bring to a slow simmer – do not boil vigorously as this can curdle the milk.
Add the rice noodles in, stir and simmer for 2-3 minutes to soften the noodles, they don’t need a lot of cooking.
Taste and adjust the seasoning, you might need a touch more lime juice or a little shot of soy.
Sprinkle with coriander and the remaining chopped spring onions to serve.
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.