Simple Tom Yum Gai Chicken Noodle Soup
I think that everyone in the known Universe loves Tom Yum soup- am I right? Or am I right? I mean- with that tangy, spicy, shrimp and citrus flavor, it makes your taste-buds tingle and your tongue turn somersaults in the most wonderful way! And fortunately for us, these wonderful flavors, made from chili and ginger, lime juice and dried shrimp are readily available at any and every Asian supermarket... and thank goodness for that!
Otherwise it would probably be a rather daunting and intricate task to try to emulate the authentic Tom Yum flavor yourself... and frankly, with some things you are better-off with a store bought version than trying to do it yourself. Plus- this way, you can whip-up a wonderful soup like this in just 20 minutes!
Not surprisingly as I cooked up a chicken breast yesterday evening, in the form of those yummy wontons... there was still another breast left-over that needed to be used up swiftly. Funny how they come in pairs, isn't it? Haha!
So with just a few simple ingredients- half a carrot, some ginger, a small pepper, some sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, cilantro and a handful of rice noodles, I put together a comforting bowl of soup this evening... just the thing when the season and the weather is changing and you find yourself not quite fit to face the Springtime. The sun is trying to come though but it's still cold... this is a good time to enjoy something light that will pick you up a little. I think this here does the trick famously!
I started off by measuring one and a half bowls of water into my saucepan and getting it boiling. Whilst it was coming up to temperature, I sliced the chicken breast, across the grain, into very thin slices and as soon as the water was bubbling away, dropped it in and then reduced the temperature to a simmer.
I let the chicken bubble away gently for 5 minutes, in which time I finely sliced the other ingredients, ready to add. After 5 minutes, a little foam had risen to the surface of the water, which I carefully removed and then in went the vegetables, along with a tablespoon of Tom Yum paste, a handful of coriander leaves and the juice of half a lime.
After 5 minutes of gently boiling away, I added the rice noodles, which soon began to soften. As soon as they were completely submerged in the broth, I again reduced the temperature to a gentle simmer and let it continue simmering for a further 5 minutes. See- I told you this was easy- and thanks to the Tom Yum paste, it is going to be super-delicious too!
After 5 minutes, the soup was good- the chicken tender and the noodles soft- still, I prefer to let mine "rest" a little before serving- it just lets the flavors infuse and deepen and the noodles become silky-soft and delicious to enjoy with a steamy soup like this- one thing they should not be is "al-dente"!
I checked the soup for seasoning and found it to be "lacking something" slightly... as so often is the case with soups- and what is the best thing to add in such a case when it is a Thai dish? You guessed it- a dash of fish sauce! If you are not familiar with Thai cooking, that might sound odd- but if you are, you will know that it doesn't add a fishy flavor to your food, but gives it the complex, savory nuance of flavor you need. 'Nuff said!
With a final few, fresh leaves of cilantro and a light drizzle of soy sauce, the soup is ready to be enjoyed, and enjoy it you will! You have everything you could possibly want in a meal, right there, in one bowl- hot, tangy, spicy, sweet and sour and full of fresh ingredients... what's not to like?
Before I bid you farewell, my usual little disclaimer again- as this is by no means an authentic Asian dish and is probably not prepared in anything like the way the real thing IS created "at home" in Thailand... but for simple folks like you and I- this does the trick and it does so plenty easy and 100% guaranteed. And yeah- I think that is pretty cool! Hope you do too!