Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tom Yum - Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

When Dear Daughter and I were in Decatur, we visited the most wonderful farmer's market I've been to since we lived in California. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! One of my finds there was Tom Yum paste at $1.75 - wow! How could I pass that up?

When the Ex was stationed in Thailand, he developed a real taste for Thai food, but back in the mid 1970s, it was pretty hard to find in Boston. We moved to San Jose, CA in 1980, and shortly thereafter, he came home from work very excited - the guys had eaten at a Thai restaurant for lunch that day, and he wanted to take me there! A days later, we pulled into the parking lot of a seedy looking bowling alley -- and trust me when I say that bowling is not my thing. He said not to worry, so I followed him on into the cutest little Thai restaurant! It was owned by a Thai man and his Anglo wife, and we became regulars. After a while, we'd simply tell him to cook us something good, and we'd greedily slurp up whatever he served us. I developed a real love for the simple Tom Yum soup.

So, back to the farmer's market..... I had the paste in my hands, but there were no directions on the jar. Internet came to the rescue though, and I decided that I would make the soup during Bright Week. Last night when I did a little food shopping, I picked up some fresh basil and some shrimp and I was set for tonight. I forgot some coconut milk, though, so I had to improvise. Here is what I did:

Tom Yum, Denise's Style
4 Tbs Tom Yum paste
1 Tbs minced garlic
2 large stalks celery, sliced fine
1 scallion, sliced fine
1 15 oz can of petite diced tomatoes in juice
1/4 C dried mushrooms
5 C water
1 Tbs veggie bouillion powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chili paste (hot stuff - use it to your taste)
2 Tbs nam pla (fish sauce)
2 Tbs lemongrass paste
1/4 C non dairy coffee creamer
1 tsp coconut extract
3 Tbs lime juice
1/4 C basil, sliced into ribbons

Set the water to boil in a pot. Mix in the tom yum paste, garlic, celery, scallion, tomatoes, mushrooms, bouillion, salt, chili paste and lemongrass paste. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the extract and creamer, then stir in the shrimp and let cook till just barely pink, about 2 minutes. Take off the heat. Stir in the lime juice and garnish with the basil.

DD actually had this dripping down her chin. She couldn't get enough of it! I thought it was yummy, but I think I'll have to hit my favorite Thai restaurant in town so I can figure out how to make it perfect!

All in all, this soup took about 15 minutes to prepare, and was tasty and healthy. It has only the fat found in the shrimp and the tom yum paste, and very few calories.

Life is too short to be a chicken in the kitchen! Live dangerously - cook something you've never eaten tomorrow! Try the Tom Yum!


jj said...

Love how healthy and good this sounds, thanks!

insane scribbler said...

Saikat from BlogsJam here.
Wanted to email you, but could not locate your email address on the
blog. we have 2 cool widgets ( a slideshow widget and a content widget
) which can help enhance site interaction and reader's experience. pl contact me at so that i can send you the slideshow widget for your blog.


PS: If you have multiple blogs, the widget can help you in a traffic exchange as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Missing Beechery,

My name is Shannon and I'm the editorial assistant at I am very impressed with the quality of your posts and to that end, I’d like to invite you to be a part of our newly launched Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program. I would love to send you more details about the program, so if you are interested, please email me at


Shannon Eliot
Editorial Assistant,

Sorina said...

You have a very nice blog great recipe