Chocolate Tom Yum

I’ve recently been running down my larder partly due to negligence but also in an attempt to increase the turnover of a few ingredients I bought in the wake of the Delia cheat craze. Today there was frozen spinach and beans, king prawns and lime leaves in the freezer. I added these to a litre of chicken stock and then some chilli sauce made earlier, tamarind for sharpness and dark chocolate to go with the extra dried chilli and “cooks cheats” shallots ginger & coriander, fish sauce and pressure cook for 3 minutes, add some noodles and coconut, bringing me terrifyingly close by accident to one “official” recipe:

  • 1 litre/2 pints chicken stock
  • 300ml/11fl oz water
  • 6 sticks lemongrass, lightly crushed
  • 4 fresh coriander roots, crushed
  • 110g/4oz fresh galangal, peeled and sliced (available from Asian supermarkets)
  • 8 tomatoes, cut into quarters, seeds removed
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1-2 limes, juice only
  • 75ml/3fl oz tamarind water (tamarind is available from Asian supermarkets. Soak the tamarind in hot water and push the pulp through a sieve to make tamarind water.)
  • 3 red chillies, thinly sliced
  • 75ml/3fl oz fish sauce (nam pla), or to taste
  • 75g/3oz palm sugar (available from Asian supermarkets), use brown sugar if unavailable
  • 12 raw tiger prawns, shelled, gutted and split in half
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks

Tasting notes:

  1. It’s quite hard to get the right heat balance: adding just a small amount of coconut neutralised what started as a great heat from 3 dried chipotles.
  2. I’ll put some dried shitake in the larder in case I try this again
  3. I always forget how gloopy is creamed coconut – needs to be diluted in hot stock before tangling itself to noodles!

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