The culinary eagle-eyed among you will see this recipe and note that it’s a little tom-yummy.
And yes it is absolutely based on the glorious Thai soup, but as usual, I have issues deeming anything as authentic because I take so many shortcuts and left turns.
So this has landed somewhere in between and I’m happy with it. And that’s what matters.
This is a soup of my dreams. There’s hardly any chopping and to be honest, there’s scarcely any cooking involved because from stove to table, we’re looking at 20 minutes max.
This is a taste that is so different to anything you would have encountered before. As the title would suggest, there is a hotness to it but it’s not fiery and abrasive, it’s warming and mesmerising whereas the sourness, much like a lot of Thai cooking, is there to provide spright intrigue, not cheek sucking acidity.
Now I want to say that this recipe was the result of me finding a salmon fillet in my freezer that I’d forgotten about but it sounds ridiculously middle class to assume that everybody has a salmon lurking in the deep freeze but this recipe works so well with any fish.
The complexities of the different flavours in the paste means you want something gentle and delicate with this. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend anything beefy, porky or chickeny – this soup was designed perfectly for seafood and soft, gently flaky fish . Of course, eat it with whatever you want but that’s my stand on it.
Chop up an onion, a thumb sized piece of ginger, two red chillies and some fresh coriander and pop in a jug.
Grate in the zest of one lime and squeeze in the juice before adding a heaped teaspoon of soft brown sugar and half a teaspoon of shrimp paste. If you don’t have shrimp paste, some fish sauce will be fine.
Blitz everything to a thick paste. If you don’t have a hand blender, you could bash everything in a pestle and mortar. It’ll just take a bit longer.
Now in a deep(ish) frying pan, heat a little flavourless oil and grate in a garlic clove. Stir this around in the oil and fry it until it starts to sizzle but don’t let it burn.
Now add the paste and stir, cooking the paste for about 10 minutes so that the paste gets a good sizzle and starts activating all the flavours.
Now chop up a handful of small tomatoes – I just halve them – and throw into the pan. Cook these until the tomatoes begin to soften and burst, their juices flowing into the paste.
Now add in a cup of chicken or vegetable stock and bring the pan to a bubble.
While this happens, gather up your seafood. I went for salmon which I cut into thick cubes but you could cut up any fish or just go for some raw prawns.
When the tomatoes have softened and burst, throw the seafood into the pan, stir, clamp on a lid and allow to bubble for 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat, take off the lid and stir through some more fresh coriander. Serve into bowls, as quickly as you can.
The only reason I say as quickly as you can is because the seafood and fish will continue to cook in the hot liquid as you eat so you don’t want it to go too hard or rubbery. But getting to eat this as soon as it’s off the hob is absolutely no problem for me, in fact, it’s hard to resist.