Tom Yum Talay: An extremely popular Thai soup characterised by its distinctive sweet, spicy and hot flavour due to addition of fragrant spices and herbs indigenous to Southeast Asia. You can either cook it with seafood (Tom Yum Talay), prawns (Tom Yum Khoong), or chicken (Tum Yum Gai), and its a great dish to serve as an appetiser!
Wash, peel and slice the 4-5 cloves garlic for the soup. If you don't have chopped garlic on hand, chop some garlic enough for 1 Tbsp of chopped garlic for frying the prawns.
Cut off the top of the lemon grass about 8 cm leaving the broader ends. Bruise the broader ends with a chopper and cut into 3 cm lengths.
Remove the skin of the galangal and wash. Cut into slices.
Wash the chilli padi and bruise it lightly with the side of the knife
Twist the lime leave to break the veins. This helps to release the juices during cooking.
Rinse the tamarind rind.
Wash the oyster mushroom and lightly squeeze out the excess water. Cut into chunky size.
Cut the Thai Lime and squeeze out the juices and set aside.
Cooking Method for Tom Yam Talay (30 Min)
Heat up 4 TBsp of oil over high heat. Add in 1 TBsp of chopped garlic and fry till aromatic but not burnt.
Add in the prawn heads (and any other prawn heads and shells saved previously). Use the spatula to make a chopping action on the prawn heads. This helps to release the juices and essence of the prawns. Then continue to fry until fragrant.
Add in 1 litre of boiling water, lower the heat and simmer for 20-25 mins. At this point, you should see an orangey layer of oil surfacing.
Transfer the prawn stocks in a big pot over a strainer, and discard the prawn heads.
Add another 2 litres of boiling water into the prawn stock, and bring back to a boil.
Once boiling, add in the lemongrass, galangal, chilli padi, lime leaves, tamarind rind, Thai chilli paste and fish sauce. Lower the heat to medium and continue to boil for about 10 mins.
Add in the oyster mushrooms and continue to boil for another 5 mins.
Turn the heat to high. Add in the prawns, fish slices and squid and cook for about 30 secs, then turn off the heat.
Lastly pour in the sugar and lime juice to taste.
Dish out the seafood into individual bowls and then pour the soup over. Garnish with parsley and best serve piping hot!
Fry the prawn heads and shells till very fragrant and some red oil surfacing before add in the boiling water. Be careful the hot water will bubble and spill over. Therefore you need to add in the hot water a little at a time.It will be better to have more prawns heads and shells to make the stock. Save these when you are cooking prawn dishes. Keep them in the freezer if you intend to make this tasty 'aroy mak' soup.If you can't too spicy stuff, you can omit the Thai Chilli Paste and instead add in 2 1/2 TBsp of chilli oil.Do not overcook the seafood especially the squid. the squid will turn rubbery once overcook. Once cooked, do not let them sit in the pot of soup because it will continue to cook further. Therefore transfer them to the bowl immediately to stop the cooking process.Do not cut the squid and fish to thinly cos it will shrink after cooking.Therefore add in the seafood only when you are about to serve.You can add more lime juice, fish sauce and chilli oil according to you preference.Some Thai fish sauce is very salty. Taste before adding more.Thai lime is a better choice compared to the Vietnamese which is not very fragrant and sour.Do no overboil the soup once the spices are added to it because it will give a slightly bitter taste.