Hot & Sour Thai soup

It is fine to use store bought tom yum paste and works a treat but if you don’t have it to hand or are a ‘make from scratch’ enthusiast just pound together in a mortar and pestle 2 pods of garlic, few small shallots, 1 stalk of lemon grass sliced and a small piece of galangal or root ginger.

Ingredients
Tom yum paste – 2 tablespoons
Stock cube (chicken/vegetable) – 1
Vinegar (any variety) – 2 teaspoons
Cooked chicken – 1/2 cup
Cooked noodles – 1/2 cup
Carrots (thick slices) – 1/4 cup
Water – 21/2 cups
Soya sauce – 1 teaspoon
Chilli sauce – 1 teaspoon
Cooking oil – 1 teaspoon
Spring onions sliced – 2 tablespoons
Mange tout / bok choi (optional)
Cooked prawns – 1/4 cup (optional)
Fish sauce – 1 tsp (optional)

Method
In a deep saucepan heat the oil gently and add the paste, fry on low heat for a minute add the stock cube and fry for a further minute. Then add the water, stir well and cook for around 5 minutes. Add the soya and chilli sauce, then the vegetables if using. Once it simmers for a couple of minutes add the cooked chicken and noodles and the prawns. After it simmers for a couple of minutes add the vinegar, check for salt and add the fish sauce if required. Garnish with the spring onions and take off the heat. Serve immediately in deep bowls and relish.
For a vegetarian version use firm tofu instead of chicken and leave out the fish sauce. For chilli heads add a sliced red chilli to the garnish.

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