Whenever I come down with some sort of cold, this is my go to comfort soup. The heat from the chilies help clear up my head, plus a little vitamin C from the limes really help. Plus when my head is stuffed up, I can still enjoy the big Thai flavors. Well, I came down with the cold that has been hitting hard here. When I turned to find my comfort soup, the Thai restaurants here really fell short, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I spent some time learning to cook in Thailand where I learned to make tom yum paste. This is by no means an authentic recipe as I wanted a more robust meal-style soup, but it is based on the tom yum gai soup I learned to make in Thailand… only I cheated by buying pre-made tom yum paste. 🙂
Tom yum paste is available in most larger Asian grocery stores. It will be located with the other curry pastes. I find the store bought curry paste to be a little “shy” on flavor as I was looking to make a very robust soup. So I bumped it up a bit with fresh lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Thai bird chilies, and sliced fresh galangal. The lemongrass and bird chilies should be readily available in most major supermarkets. If your Asian grocer doesn’t carry fresh kaffir lime leaves or galangal, check the freezer because I have often found them there. Any of these ingredients are optional, but I would recommend adding them if possible.
About the Thai bird chilies – these are very hot. Add them whole or cut in half and remove the seeds if you just want the chile flavor with little heat, or cut a slit in them to release the heat but keep the seeds inside the chile. Two chilies will give you a mild heat.. I added about 6 or 8.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 5 tablespoons tom yum curry paste, divided
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
- 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
- 2 Thai bird chilies, or more, stems removed and chile slit (optional)
- 1 stalk lemongrass (optional)
- ½-inch galangal, sliced (optional)
- ½ sweet onion, chopped
- 8 ounces fresh oyster mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
- Chopped cilantro, for serving
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Place chicken breasts in a shallow bowl just large enough to hold the. Combine 1 tablespoon curry paste, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and the oil. Pour over chicken and thoroughly coat. Set aside.
- Set up grill for direct medium-high heat. Brush and oil grates before cooking. While the grill heats up, prep remaining ingredients.
- Cook chicken breasts for about 4 minutes per side. Chicken should be almost cooked through. Remove and allow to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred or chop the chicken in to bite size pieces; set aside.
- In a large pot, add chicken broth, remaining 4 tablespoons tom yum paste, and if using the lime leaves, chilies, lemongrass, and galangal. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Add the onions and mushroom and continue simmering for 5 minutes; add the chicken and tomatoes, then simmer 5 more minutes. Remove from and stir in the remaining ¼ cup lime juice.
- Divide into soup bowls and top with freshly chopped cilantro. Serve immediately with extra lime wedges.
Cheers and Happy Grilling!