Allergy season arrives later in Colorado than in the other places I lived. Tree and plants don’t get blooming until the end of April and early May, but once they do, running becomes a tearful and snotty outdoor activity for me. My allergies were particularly bad over the weekend when Cameron and I were kicking up all kinds of dust and pollen in our effort to improve our yard’s landscaping.
On Sunday, I headed inside from gardening to take a break from flying pollen and prepared a light lunch to power us through the afternoon. I settled on homemade Thai food and assembled ingredients for spring rolls and tom yum goong, also known as hot and sour lemongrass soup.
Since this soup recipe contains shrimp, I opted for fried tofu as the protein source in the spring rolls. Once I’d created a mountain of spring rolls on a serving platter, I set to soup making. This is my first attempt at preparing tom yum goong, the famed hot and sour lemongrass soup ubiquitous in Thai restaurants.
If you plan to use Thai bird chiles in the recipe, start with one, and increase the heat on your next go round with the recipe. Even a little spice will offer you relief from allergy season congestion, but this spicy bowl of hot and sour soup cleared my congestion and scared away any pollen that tried to get cozy with my eyes and nose.
Tom Yum Goong aka
Hot and Sour Shrimp Lemongrass Soup
– 3 TBS freshly squeezed lime juice
– 1 TBS thinly sliced fresh hot green chilies (I used 3 small dried Thai Bird’s Eye chilies. They are spicy!)
– 2 green onions, very thinly sliced
– 6 wild kaffir lime leaves, torn or cut in quarters
– 2 TBS coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
– 2 cups vegetable broth
– 3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed to 3-inch base and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch chunks
– 5 slices galanga, fresh, frozen, or dried (I substituted fresh ginger.)
– 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (I used shiitakes.)
– 2 TBS fish sauce
– 2 TBS roasted chili paste (nahm prik pao, optional)
1.In a large serving bowl, combine the lime juice, chilies, green onions, and half the lime leaves, if using. Place this bowl by the stove, along with a small bowl containing the chopped cilantro.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, lemongrass, galanga (or ginger), and remaining lime leaves, if using. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shrimp and mushrooms to the broth, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, until the mushrooms are tender and the shrimp are cooked.
3. Stir in the fish sauce and roasted chili paste, if using, and remove from heat. Pour the hot soup over the lime juice and herbs in the serving bowl, and stir well. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve hot.