Tom yum, that soup of wonders, that spicy restorative, that Thai dish which even gave its name to a Tony Jaa action film for reasons that still escape me (imagine if Mission Impossible 3 was renamed Mulligatawny).
There's a lot of controversy about what constitutes an authentic tom yum (sometimes spelt tom yam) - should it have tomatoes, what type of mushrooms if any, prawns or chicken - and it seems some recipes like to throw in everything but the proverbial kitchen sink.
I've even seen some people use coconut milk, which makes it too close to tom kha ghai for my liking, and any version with pineapple is going straight in the sin bin.
Anyway, I have to admit I used to err on the side of plenty, but I found it became too much of a jumble, so these days, I like to strip it down and use as few ingredients as possible. This gives a fresher, lighter, sharper taste - a broth that almost sparkles with clarity.
Here's my Channel 4 Food recipe for Fragrant Tom Yum Soup with Mussels to accompany tonight's episode of Gordon's Great Escapes which sees Ramsay take on Thailand.
I've used mussels this time - you could also use clams, the classic prawns (tom yum goong), a mix of seafood, or chicken.
Whichever you use, adjust the cooking time accordingly - you want to gently poach the meat, to preserve its character and let the flavours sing.
My Fragrant Tom Yum Soup recipe on Channel 4 Food
Gordon Ramsay's Great Escapes - Thailand
Monday 30 May on Channel 4 at 9 pm
I like to add a tsp of nam prik (snigger) pao at the end. Gives a lovely smokiness and the red hue.
@Annie - Oh, sorry to hear about DH but that's lovely - I've always seen it as Asian penicillin.
@karohemd - Thank you! Some of the best Thai food seems to be found in pubs weirdly :)
I rather liked Gordon in this!
Must catch up on rest now.
PS I love seeing your name on the CHannel 4 website.
@Pavel - Thanks Pavel - and that's very flattering as I *knew* you didn't like mussels :)