Sour and spicy mushroom soup is a popular dish from the Thai food as is commonly known as Tom Yum Hed (Thai Mushroom soup). Tom yum (Lao) or Tom yam (Thai) in the Royal Thai General System of Transcription is a name for two similar soups originating from Laos and Thailand.
The Royal Laos version of Tom Yam soup includes a pinch of rice whereas other typical Lao and Thai versions do not include rice as an ingredient. Tom yum is widely served in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia and has been popularized around the world.
Tom yum is characterized generally by its distinct hot and sour flavors with fragrant herbs generously used. The basic broth for the soup is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushed chili peppers. Tom yum is traditionally made with prawns (known as tom yum goong or tom yum kung), chicken (tom yum gai), fish (tom yum pa in Lao and tom yum pla in Thai) or mixed seafood (tom yum thale or tom yum po taek) and mushrooms which includes usually the straw mushrooms or oyster mushrooms. The soup is often topped with generous sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro (coriander leaves). Sometimes Thai chili jam (nam phrik phao) is added which gives the soup a bright orange color and enhances the chili flavor.
There are different variations of making this dish. A more recent variation of tom yum is tom yum nam khon where a little milk or coconut milk is added to the broth as a finishing touch and then balanced with some toasted dried chilies. This variation is not to be confused with tom kha gai (Chicken galangal soup) where galangal is the dominant flavor of the coconut milk based soup. Tom yum nam khon is almost always made with prawns, whereas chicken is often used in tom kha. Its other cousin is less well-known outside Thailand – tom khlong.
Straw mushroom or paddy straw mushroom is a species of edible mushroom cultivated throughout East and Southeast Asia and used extensively in Asian cuisines. These are often available fresh in Asia but are more frequently found in canned or dried form outside their nations of cultivation. Straw mushrooms are grown on rice straw beds and picked immature, during the button or egg phase and before the veil ruptures. They resemble poisonous death caps, but can be distinguished by their pink spore print; the spore print is white for death caps. Nevertheless, people have been poisoned (sometimes fatally) making this mistake.
Apart from the straw mushroom variety, oyster mushroom can also be used in making the sour and spicy mushroom soup. The oyster is one of the more commonly sought wild mushrooms, though it can also be cultivated on straw and other media. It often has the scent of anise due to the presence of benzaldehyde (which, however, smells more like almonds). The oyster mushroom may be considered a medicinal mushroom, since it contains statins such as lovastatin which work to reduce cholesterol. Oyster mushrooms are widely cultivated and used in Kerala, India; a wide variety of dishes are prepared from them. They are used for making mushroom soup, mushroom stir fries etc.
For preparing this healthy and nutritious sour and spicy mushroom soup, firstly clean the mushrooms and cut the large ones in half. Bring water to boil and add the galangal, lemongrass, kaffir leaves (lime leaves) and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and then add the soy sauce and remove from heat. Add lime juice, chili peppers and sprinkle with spring onions. Serve hot with jasmine rice.
This spicy Thai sour and spicy mushroom soup makes a great vegetarian dish. Tom Yum soup has many health benefits mainly due to its combination of herbs and spices. It’s an excellent dish, best immune boosting powder and acts as a natural remedy for cold and flu viruses.
Do try this dish and enjoy its flavors. Click on the below link for detailed recipe:
This soup is a wonderful dish to showcase straw and oyster mushrooms. The soup is hot and sour with lemon grass aroma. Tom Yum is very spicy and sour, and usually served scalding hot in a hotpot with a fire underneath. There are many different variations. Apart from the health benefits of this soup it also tastes amazing, not for the faint hearted chilli wise, but so virtuous, virtually fat free and invigorating.
You can also substitute other mushrooms for oyster mushrooms. Or you can add a mixture of mushrooms. But its best to using mild flavor mushroom for this dish so that the mushrooms don’t over power the spices.