I’m not the only one who reads cookbooks in bed at night, right? Nope, I’m pretty sure I’m not, as I’ve spied out my fifteen-year-old daughter doing the same thing on more than one occasion.
One of our favorite cookbooks is a bizarre one, chock-a-block full of mostly things we’d never dream of actually eating. Things like Yak’s Penis and Cane Rat and Palm Weevils, I kid you not. It’s one of the best books I own; ask me to borrow it at your peril. It’s called 101 Dishes to Eat Before You Die, by Stefan Gates. You can find his ever-interesting website here.
For my lunch today, I made one of his more orthodox recipes. I use the term ‘orthodox’ rather loosely. Today I made myself a delicious bowl of Thai Tom Yum Soup with Fish. For those more adventurous eaters among you, here you go, with my hearty compliments. It’s fantastic.
5 1/2 cups light chicken stock
6 lemongrass stalks, crushed to release their flavor
3 T very finely chopped cilantro roots
10 kaffir lime leaves, central stalks torn off
1 red chilie, seeded and finely chopped
1 inch piece of galangal or fresh ginger
3 T nam pla (I substituted fish sauce, which did very nicely, I thought)
1 T sugar
1 lb shrimp
1 lb firm white fish, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used Basa, and it was perfect)
8 oz can of either bamboo shoots or water chestnuts
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
the juice of two limes
a handful of fresh cilantro and a handful of either fresh basil leaves or even better, Thai basil if you can find it
Method: Pour the stock into a large saucepan and add the lemongrass, cilantro roots, chile, galangal, nam pla and sugar. Cover the saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the shrimp, fish and bamboo shoots and simmer for an additional 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and lime juice and check the seasoning, adding more fish sauce and/or sugar if necessary. Remove and discard the lemongrass stalks and enjoy your solitary lunch with no kids around to tell you how gross it is!