I have the flu. Third time this year I’ve been sick.
So, for the third time this year, I made a powerful, brothy soup to combat the bug. This time my weapon of choice was tom yum, or Thai hot and sour soup. It’s fiery, sharp, and a little bit sweet–terrific stuff, even if you’re the picture of health.
Where Chinese-style hot and sour soup uses white pepper and vinegar, tom yum gets its punch from red chili and a trio of tart aromatics: kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and lime juice. Some recipes add a small amount of sugar, which I think works well to offset the aggressiveness of the other flavors.
My favorite Thai restaurant does a simple vegetable tom yum that I love: straw mushrooms and baby corn in a lipstick-red broth, topped with cilantro sprigs. I tried to duplicate that here, with some degree of success. Working from this base recipe, you could include your favorite soup vegetables–carrots, broccoli and cabbage work beautifully–or add chicken or shrimp for a more substantial meal.