Easy vegetarian Tom Yum soup

Tom Yumis one of the most popular Thai soups , revered both for its health benefits from its potent herbs and spices and the lightness of the simple flavorful broth .I use a Tom yum paste available from Asian stores , makingquick work of this delicious soup . If you prefer you could add some seafood such as fresh shrimp , but mine is vegetarian .

Serves 2 to 3

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

3 -4 cups water or vegetable stock

2 stalks lemongrass , tender parts only

4 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves shredded

2 small red chillies  sliced

Comercially prepared Tom Yum paste ( use as directed )

Choice of fresh vegteables , such as fresh thin sliced mushrooms , baby corn cut bite sized , fresh baby spinach

Fresh coriander

1 tsp palm sugar

squeeze of fresh lime juice

2 scallions , sliced

Place kaffir lime leaves , lemongrass and chilis in a pot and cover with water or stock . Turn to medium high.

Stir in Tom yum paste and boil 2 minutes more .

Stir in  palm sugar and mushrooms. Cook for 2 more minutes . Stir in baby corn , cook till done. Off heat .

squeeze in lime juice .

Serve , garnished with cilantro and scallions.


Palak Paneer ( cheese and spinach )

There are few dishes more comforting than palak paneer . What is it , you may ask ? Paneer is a home made Indian cheese , similar to rikotta , but compressed to form into a block and remove all liquid , this is then cut into cubes or fingers and fried . The spinach ( palak ) is sauteed with cumin seeds , spices and tomates and finally a little heavy cream is added to give it a smooth delicious mouth feel .

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

2 tomatoes , pureed

1 package frozen spinach , squeezed dry and pureed

1 tsp ground coriander seed

1    1 ” pc ginger , grated

1 -2 green chilis chopped fine

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp cumin seed

4 – 5 tbs heavy cream

6 oz paneer ( available at Indian stores , fried lightly in oil and soaked in cold water for 15 minutes )

Blend tomatoes , ginger , green chilis , turmeric and coriander powder . Set aside.

Heat 1 tbs oil and add cumin seeds. Allow to sputter for 20 -30 seconds.

Add the tomato mixture and fry till the oil seperates. ( about 5 to 10 minutes ).

Stir in the spinach puree and salt. Fry till well mixed . Cover and cook on a low flame for another 5 minutes .

Remove the cover and stir in the heavy cream . Cover and simmer 1 more minutes .

Stir in the fried and drained paneer and stir slowly so as not to break the paneer .

Serve hot and drizzle with a little more cream.