Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yummy in Your Tummy (A Tribute to Tom Yum Soup)

A couple of weeks ago, I assisted one Jet Tila's L.A. cooking classes at The New School of Cooking in Culver City. The class featured some Wazuzu Bistro's dishes (recipes from Jet's Las Vegas restaurant at Steve Wynn's Encore resort), including Tom Yum Soup, a classic Thai dish. Beloved by L.A. foodies, Jet has that "secret sauce" that you rarely see in a culinary classroom and that secret sauce is passion. As much as Jet is passionate about food, he's also passionate about his students. He goes to great lengths to ensure that students get what they pay for when they sign up to take one of his classes.

I was able to grab an extra copy of the recipes featured in that class and with his permission, I get to share the Tom Yum Soup recipe with you fine readers out there in cyberland. I made the Thai chicken stock on Saturday and it honestly took no time at all (about an hour or so total, give or take). I always enjoy shopping for groceries and picked up the "thai" items at Bangkok Market on Melrose Ave. This basic stock is chock full of Thai yumminess (no pun intended) - galangal, lemongrass, thai chiles, chicken parts, and kaffir lime leaves. Anytime you make your own stock, it requires the attention of a child in the sense that you need to skim off any fat and foam that surfaces to the top throughout the simmering process. I check the stock every 15 minutes or so to see if the stock is ready for skimming. The next day I actually made the soup which included the fabulous stock, shrimp, straw mushrooms, roasted thai chiles, and kaffir lime leaves. A great cure for a cold or a yummy one pot meal on a rainy day, this Tom Yum Soup will definitely make your belly and your heart happy.
copyrighted by Jet Tila (2004)
Thai Chicken Stock
1 to 2 chicken carcasses
8 to 10 cups water
3/4 c. thinly sliced galangal
2 stalks lemongrass, lower portion only, pounded
2 garlic cloves, peeled whole
2 to 4 kaffir lime leaves
2 large shallots, sliced
2 to 4 thai chiles, pounded
Place carcass in stock pot and cover with cold water. Bring bones to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove bones and rinse until sediment is removed. Discard cooking liquid. Transfer bones and roast into a fresh pot and cover with the 1 gallon of fresh water and bring back to a simmer.
** Note - I didn't have a carcass so I used chicken wings (I didn't bother with the bones and discarding portion of the recipe).
Add galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, garlic, shallots and chiles to stock and allow to simmer. Skim fat and foam often, continue to simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Skim off any additional fat and strain stock through cheesecloth.
Tom Yum Soup
2 quarts of Thai chicken stock
1 cup shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 15 oz. can straw mushrooms, peeled, drained and rinsed
6 to 8 roasted thai chiles
6 tbs. fish sauce
6 tbs. lime juice
3 tbs. chile paste in soybean oil
4-6 kaffir lime leaves
cilantro springs to garnish
Bring Thai chicken stock to simmer over medium-high heat in a medium pot. Add shrimp, mushrooms and chiles. Cook until shrimp turns pink, about 1 minute. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice and chile paste. Garnish with lime leaves and cilantro, serve immediately.

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