Tom yum paste is the key ingredient of the ever tasty tom yum soup. But with a little of imagination, you can turn this wonderfully tasty paste, into a main or side dish. Fish, chicken and pork turn wonderful, when marinated with this paste before baking, frying or grilling. Many readymade pastes are available in the market claiming to make delicious tom yum soup. A freshly prepared homemade paste however is much tastier and healthier. Moreover, it is easy to make. You have just to take the ingredients, put them in the food processor to make their fine paste and fry a little, thats all!
All you need is 4 tablespoons of finely chopped lemongrass, 5 flakes of garlic, 1 inch piece of ginger sliced, 1 fresh red chilli sliced, 2 shallots, some fresh coriander with stems and leaves chopped separately, 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, teaspoon of shrimp paste, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, cup fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons of palm sugar or brown sugar, 2-3 spring onions sliced and a pinch of salt; these will make for you approximately cups of paste. 1/2 tablespoon of coconut milk can be added to make your tom yum paste thin. As an alternate to fresh red chilli, about 1 teaspoon of dry red chilli powder or even cayenne pepper can be used. Coriander stems can be ground to make a fine paste, while leaves can be used for the adornment of the soup, that is the reason, they should be kept separately. Lemongrass can be taken fresh or frozen and is available at Asian food stores. Fish sauce and shrimp paste too are available at Asian food stores.
Make a fine paste of all these ingredients by putting them into a food processor. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan and fry the paste in it for 4-5 minutes. Regulary stir the paste. When a nice aroma is given out, turn the fire off. The duration of the preparation is just 10 to 12 minutes. For making soup, you will have to boil some nicely made chicken stock and to a pot of such stock, you have to add some spoons of this paste. You will have to go on adding the paste in a small quantity every time and tasting the soup, till you get your favorite taste. Fish sauce can be added more instead of adding more salt. After this, you can add shrimp, tofu, vegetables you want etc. and then coconut milk to turn the soup deliciously creamier.
If you wish to use this paste as a marinade, you can use it for 6 pieces of fish or chicken. Shrimp, any other shellfish and even pork turns yummier with this paste. In fact, in case of fish or seafood, there is no need to waste time in marinating, you have to just spread the paste and cook the fish, thats it.
If you want, you can eat tom yum paste as a delicious sauce too. And it can also be made into another yummy dish just by adding tablespoon of coconut milk and warming it a little to keep its saucy flavor as it is. Your entre will become tasty, when you will add this thinned curry-like paste to it.
Tom Yum soup is a delicious, incompatible Thai soup. The Tom Yum recipe allows you different variations. Adding the optional ingredients like Tom Yum Paste will give it a more authentic taste.