Tourist free Tom yum, in other words Tom yam pla
Before mass tourism mainstreamed Thai food and generalised Tom yum soup there were a number of varieties. This is my take on the clear, sour and spiced fish soup, Tom yam pla. My version uses salmon and has a very mild heat I use the mildest red chillies I can find, I capitalise on the aromatic flavours of lemon grass, ginger and kaffir leaves. I pull out the salmon and dip rice cakes in the broth for little one. It's a delicate soup and the salmon is lovely and soft packed full of juicy flavour, so perfect for any aged baby to gum, suck and chew. Poaching the salmon like this keeps it reasonably firm, and the flakes remain large enough that a 10 month or older would easily manage tray to hand to mouth. I love resurrecting traditional dishes, so many food campaigns are about health, very few are about preserving traditional dishes. This traditional dish is super healthy and really easy to make, you literally bung everything in a saucepan and bubble away for 15 minutes!
Makes enough for 2 grown-ups and little one
4 spring onions – kept long and cut lengthways in half
2 lemon grass stalk – cut in half both lengthways and horizontally – creates 8 pieces in total
Thumb size ginger cut in thin slices
2 red mild chillies – deseeded and cut into long thin strips
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander
4 kaffir lime leaves
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp agave nectar
700 and 100 ml boiling water
350g salmon fillet- skinned and deboned, and cut into 2 cm chunks
A few corriander leaves to garnish
1. Put spring onions, lemon grass, ginger, chillies, coriander, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, soy sauce, agave nectar in a saucepan with 700ml boiling water, hard boil for 5 mins. This releases flavours from these ingredients.
2. Top up the pan with a further 100 ml of boiling water and put the salmon in. Keep at a high heat until boiling again (putting the salmon in would have dropped the temperature). Once boiling again turn down to a medium simmer and cook for 10 minutes. The salmon should be cooked through and ready to serve. Garnish with a few corriander leaves. Serve with plain rice on the side.
Pull out the salmon and dip rice cakes in the broth for little one. It's a delicate soup and the salmon is lovely and soft packed full of juicy flavour, so perfect for any aged baby to gum, suck and chew. Poaching the salmon like this keeps it reasonably firm, and the flakes remain largish that a 10 month or older would easily manage tray to hand to mouth. You can add other veg to the broth - bean sprouts, peppers, water chestnuts, and broccoli all work just add a bit more water – I cook the veg separately and then pour the soup on the veg, that way the veg is not over cooked.
Tourism has seen the end of the variations in tom yum soup. Tom refers to the boiling process that releases flavours and yam refers to the sourness sweetness of the soup. Tom yam pa use to be the most popular soup across Thailand before mass-tourism.