Spicy Clear Tom Yam Prawn Soup

Tom Yam is a classic Thai soup and this recipe makes it extremely easy and quick to prepare without compromising on flavours, complexity or indeed heat.
Ingredients:
500ml Chicken Stock (I used Marc Pierre White’s chicken pots, which are perfect for this)
3 Birds Eye Chillies, halved and slightly crushed
5g Dried Lemongrass (used a fresh lemongrass stalk bruised)
3 Whole Kaffir Lime Leaves
5g Sliced Galangal (used Bart galangal in sunflower oil)
6 Large Fresh Prawns whole
100g Mushrooms sliced
4 Tablespoons Lime Juice (I find this is roughly equivalent to 2 juicy limes)
1 1/2 Teaspoons) Fish Sauce

Instructions:
1. Prepare the prawns by removing the heads, legs, and peeling. Leave the tails on. I used Waitrose frozen tiger prawns which came shelled already.
2. Bring the stock to the boil, and add the galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves. Break the chillies in half and crush them with the handle of a knife (or a pestle) before adding them to the soup.
3. After 2 – 3 minutes, add the prawn and the mushrooms and bring to the boil again.
4. Add the fish sauce and then remove from the heat. Finally add the lime juice to taste. Add more fish sauce or lime juice to taste. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve immediately.

Prawn, tomato and ginger parcels

This is one of those chance recipes that just click into place and become favourite. I was investigating the range of chilled puff pastry dough in Waitrose (as you do) and my recipe radar went beep when I spotted the one on the back of JUS ROL All Butter puff. Go figure:

Ingredients

375g JUS ROL All Butter Puff pastry
150g prawns – cooked and peeled (I used frozen tiger prawns)
2.5cm piece root ginger – peeled and finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes
small bunch of watercress – stalks removed (I used chives from my garden)
beaten egg
1 fresh chilli green or red finelly chopped
handful of petite pois
(the last two are my additions, not part of the original recipe)

Preheat over to 220C (200C for fan assisted over)/Gas 7

Divide the pastry into 4 and roll each part into a square approximately 12.5cm across

Combine the prawns, ginger, tomatoes and watercress and divide between the pastry squares, piling into the centre.

Brush the edges with beaten egg. Bring corners to the centre to meet over the filling. Pinch the parcels firmly at the corners to seal and fold back the point of the pastry from the centre to reveal the filling.

Brush pastry with egg and bake for approximately 15 minutes until pastry is risen and golden.

Having piled on more stuff than could fit the result was more flat than parcel-like. However, it was delicious and next time I will try to be less generous with the filling.

As it happened the king prawns were 20% off at Waitrose meat & deli counter, I had just the right amount of ginger left over, my tomatoes were ripe and in sufficient quantities to use them for cooking – the augaries were good and I obviously needed to make this that night. The sticky chicken I was planning to make that night could happily marinate in its juicy goodness for another day…

Hot and sour prawn soup

This is one of my favourite soups but I always thought it would be too complicated to make at home. I love the fragrant broth with galangal and lemongrass and a kick of bird’s eye chilli.

Ingredients:
Serves 4, Ready in 30 minutes

25g tamarind pulp (I used tamarind paste from waitrose, it seemed to work but will try to get pulp next time to see if it makes any difference)
1 tsp sunflower oil
1 tsp palm sugar
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 litre fish stock
2 lemongrass stalks, outer layer discarded and finely sliced
5cm piece galangal, sliced
2 fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves
1 red bird’s eye chilli, sliced
250g raw king prawns, peeled, deveined with tail shells left on
Juice of ½ lime
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
1 spring onion, sliced
Handful fresh coriander leaves

  1. Put the tamarind pulp into a bowl and pour over 125ml hot water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the palm sugar and garlic. Stir-fry for 1 minute.

    Tip To freeze: Freeze at the end of step 2 for up to 2 months. Thaw and complete the recipe to serve.

  2. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Strain the tamarind liquid into the pan and add the lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and chilli. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Add the prawns and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until pink and cooked through. Stir in the lime juice, fish sauce, spring onion and coriander. Serve straightaway.