As we transition into autumn and reminisce about the sunny days that we’ve enjoyed, there’s nothing more better than a delicious soup that takes you back to those good vibes. I was inspired to make this soup as I’ve been dreaming about going to Thailand.
This recipe yields 2 kinds of delicious soups. The Tom Yum Goong Gazpacho is deliciously fragrant, with the sweet acidity of the tomatoes, creaminess of the coconut milk, which perfectly compliments the chili’s spiciness. It’s so perfect for those sunny days!
The other soup that it yields is the Tom Yum Goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง). Be sure to save whatever is leftover from the gazpacho, boil it down, strain the soup, and add prawns/chicken, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and mushrooms and voila – you have Tom Yum!
- 16~17 oz (450~500 grams) medium head/shell-on shrimps
- 2/3 cup grapeseed oil
- 1 tbsp chili flakes
- 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves, torn into small pcs
- 4~5 kaffir lime leaves, torn into small pcs
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup coconut milk, plus more to drizzle
- 2 cans peeled whole tomatoes
- 5~6 white parts of the lemongrass stalks, cut into small chunks
- 1 1/2″ galangal, cut into small chunks
- 10~11 kaffir lime leaves, torn into small pcs
- 3 small red chillis, diced
- 1 tbsp + 2 tbsp fish sauce, plus more to adjust
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 4 shallots, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 1/4 tsp light brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- TO MAKE SHRIMP OIL: Peel the shrimps and set aside the meats. Use a scissor to cut the heads and shells into as small of a pieces as you can, then combine with olive oil, chili flakes, fresh mint leaves, kaffir lime leaves and shrimp paste in a pot. Set over medium heat, breaking up the shrimp paste with a wooden spoon and cook for 9~10 min until the shells are almost browned, and that there are browned bits forming on the sides/bottom of the pot. Add the water, scraping down the browned bits as thoroughly as you can so they can melt into the water, and cook for another 2 min to reduce. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve, pressing down the solids to extract as much liquid as you can, then discard the solid. Set the shrimp oil aside.
- Devein the shrimps and slice them in half length-wise. Add 1 tbsp of shrimp oil to a skillet, then cook the shrimps over medium heat just until they turn opaque. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside in the fridge.
- TO MAKE THE GAZPACHO: In a blender, combine coconut milk, 1/2 can (200 grams) of peeled tomato (reserve the rest), lemongrass stalks, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, red chilis and 1 tbsp of fish sauce. Blend for 2~3 min until the mixture is completely obliterated. Strain the mixture through a very fine sieve or cheese clothe. If you’re using a fine sieve, press on the solids until they feel relatively dry, then squeeze with your hands in small batches to extract as much liquid out as possible (you’d be surprise how much more liquid you can get). If you’re using cheese clothe, just squeeze on the entire thing all together. You should be able to get about 1 1/2 cup of liquid.
- Rinse the blender but no need to wash. Add the extracted liquid back to the blender, along with the remaining 1 1/2 can (600 grams) peeled tomatoes, lime juice, small Asian shallots, 2 tbsp of fish sauce, light brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper. Run the blender for 1~2 min until smoothly pureed, *then drizzle in 1/4 cup of shrimp oil while running. Adjust the seasoning with more fish sauce if needed, then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours to overnight (this is also important for the flavours to weld together). Blend it again briefly or whisk vigorously before serving.
- Serve with a generously dousing of more shrimp oil and coconut milk, torn fresh mint leaves, freshly ground black pepper, and the cooked/chilled shrimps.