I’ve been playing with Tom Yum flavors ever since taking a Thai Cooking class last fall. I love the spicy-sour combination of the chili and kaffir lime.
Tom yum is a clear soup from Laos and Thailand, and is characterized by its distinct hot and sour flavors, with fragrant herbs generously used in the broth. The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushed chili peppers.
Commercial tom yum paste, as used in this recipe, is made by crushing all the herb ingredients and stir frying in oil. Seasoning and other preservative ingredients are then added. The paste is bottled or packaged, and sold around the world. It’s probably not quite as authentic as making if from scratch from the ingredients above, but it tastes great and it’s sure a lot simpler!
My favorite tom yum soup (tom yam thale) includes seafood, including shrimp, and I wanted to see if I could create a fun, healthy, “tapas style” dish that incorporated those flavors in a completely different way.
Very happy with these results.
Thai Shrimp Boats
1/2 lb large shrimp, cleaned and deviened
3in peice of lemongrass, crushed
1/2 cup Thai fish sauce
2 cups of water, as needed
salt and pepper to taste
6 whole romaine lettuce leaves (the smaller leaves inside a head of romaine), washed and trimmed
1 1/2 tsp Tom Yum soup paste
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cucumber, peeled
1/2 cup Jicama (or daikon radish*), matchsticks
1 lime, quartered
*If you like a little pepper heat, use the daikon radish, otherwise, stick to the cooler jicama, the consistency of the two is very similar.
Mise en Place
Cut core off the end of the heat of romaine separating leaves. Wash, dry and place in a bag in fridge for at least an hour to get cold and crisp.
Slightly crush lemongrass with the flat edge of a cleaver, or with a rolling pin (this releases the flavors).
Chop cilantro, and peel, deseed, and matchstick the cucumbers. Peel jicama (or daikon) and cut into matchsticks. Quarter lime.
Prepare the dish
Place a large plate or platter in the freezer to cool.
Combine lemongrass, fish sauce, and enough water to make about 1 1/2 inch in the bottom of a steam pot. Bring to a boil.
Place shrimp in a single layer in the bottom of the steam basket, and insert basket into the pot.
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Cover and steam 2-3 minutes until shrimp are just pink through (slightly undercooked, as they’ll continue to cook. Remove from heat, and remove shrimp from steam basket to a single layer on the chilled plate.
Set aside to cool, 2-3 minutes, then chop each shrimp into 2-3 pieces.
Lay your chilled lettuce leaf boats on serving dish and spread a very thin film of Tom Yum paste (to taste…it’s strong!) down the center of each.
Fill with shrimp, cilantro, cucumber, and jicama. Sprinkle with lime juice.