Wednesday, October 6, 2010
For me South East Asian food hits all the right notes. There's the heat from the chilli, sweetness from either sugar or coconut cream, sour from lime, lemon or tamarind and of course there's salty, from soy sauce, sea salt, fish sauce and shrimp paste. When all these ingredients are in their correct balance you're in for a lovely treat indeed!
Thai yellow curry recipe, I have been experimenting with the use of fermented tofu in place of shrimp paste/fish sauce to create pure Vegetarian and Vegan Thai recipes. I have to say I'm pretty stoked with the results. And while it doesn't give the exact same pungent flavour, for those of you wanting to make Thai vegetarian dishes it's pretty damn close. If you are new to fermented tofu, it's a readily available pungent product of tofu, pickled in brine, sometimes with chilli added, that's found at all Asian grocery stores. It's usually sold in small glass jars, and once opened will store in the fridge for up to a year.
Then you're only about 10 minutes away from a delicious fresh Tom yam soup at a later date!!! Mmmmmm. The chilli oil recipe will give you enough to make 6 times the Tom yam recipe below. I know there are loads of commercially made Tom yam pastes available that you can just add water to, but as with most things...Homemade is always better.
There really are no rules when it comes to the vegetables you add. Experiment and use what's in season. The tomato and straw mushrooms are traditional, but the rest is just what I had on hand. The tofu puffs can easily be replaced with regular grilled firm tofu, or simply leave out. Okra simmered until tender is also a favourite of mine.
If you buy a bunch of kaffir lime leaves and only use a few, pop the rest into the freezer. They will keep bagged for ages and you simply use straight from the freezer. Lemongrass can also be finely diced, bagged and frozen. Living in small town New Zealand where ingredients like these are not always available you have to get creative in your preservation methods! That's why it's such a great idea to grow your own, but lemongrass does take forever to take off. We've had ours in for over 2 years and we are only now getting nice big fat stalks.
Lastly, if it were in season I would serve this soup topped with a huge handful of Thai basil. Perfect.
tofu tom yam recipe
Feel free to strain the broth, before adding the vegetables and tofu if you like. I don't mind the chunks of lemongrass, but some might? All the ingredients for this soup should be available at your local Asian grocery store. Replace tofu puffs for regular grilled firm tofu if you want.
Serves 2 as a main, or more if served as part of a meal, however the amount of grilled chilli oil will make enough for 6 times the tom yam recipe below.
grilled chilli oil
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 5 shallots (eshallots to you Aussie's)
- 5 long dried red chillies, de-seeded and roughly broken up
- 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp raw cane sugar or grated palm sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 Tbsp fermented tofu (about 3 small cubes)
- 1 1/2 tsp paprika
tofu tom yam recipe
- 500ml water
- 1 Tbsp grilled chilli oil (recipe above)
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 5cm/ 2in piece of fresh tender lemongrass, finely chopped
- 2-3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce (tamari for gluten-free)
- 1/2 can of straw mushrooms, halved
- 1 tomato, cut into thick wedges
- 1/2 packet tofu puffs
- a handful of Asian greens, trimmed. I used choy sum
- sea salt
- rice noodles, cooked until tender, then drained to serve (I allow 30g uncooked noodles per person)
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