Hot & Sour Prawn Soup

Hot & Sour Prawn Soup (dtom yum gung)

Hot and sour soups are a classic on Thai menus. Although the version containing prawns, dtom yam gung, is perhaps the best known in Australia, ‘dtom’ simply means to boil and ‘yam’ to mix or toss together and these soups can be as basic or as complex as you care to make them. They should always taste salty, sour and hot due to the seasonings of fish sauce, lime juice and chilli and be aromatic with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. David Thompson recommends squeezing the lime juice directly into the soup bowl rather than the saucepan, so it retains all its liveliness.

Serves 2 as part of a meal

Ingredients
  • 4 green prawns
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 600ml water
  • ½ stalk lemongrass, chopped
  • 2 thin slices peeled galangal, chopped
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf, chopped
  • 3 small Thai chillies, trimmed and chopped
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce, plus extra for serving
  • 2 shiitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons deep-fried garlic or shallot
  • 1 sprig coriander, leaves sliced
  • Roasted chilli powder, for serving
Method
  1. Peel and devein prawns, reserving the shells and heads. Chop the meat into large chunks and set aside.
  2. Place oil in a saucepan, add prawn shells and heads and cook over medium heat for a few minutes, crushing regularly with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, until well-coloured.
  3. Add water, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, crushing occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, place lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaf and chilli in a mortar and crush into a rough paste. Set aside.
  5. Strain prawn shells, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids.
  6. Return liquid to a clean saucepan, add lemongrass mixture and fish sauce, bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Stir in mushroom, tomato, and prawn meat and simmer for a further minute or so until prawn is just opaque. Remove from heat.
  8. Add 2 teaspoons of the lime juice to each of 2 serving bowls then ladle soup into the bowls.
  9. Sprinkle with coriander, crumble deep-fried garlic over the top and serve.
  10. Serve remaining lime juice, extra fish sauce, and roasted chilli powder on the side for diners to add as they wish.

Like this recipe? You’ll love A Month of Thai Inspired by David Thompson.

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