Health benefits of Tom Yum Soup

Health benefits of Thai soup under study
BANGKOK, Thailand — For years, zesty Tom Yum Gung soup has been a mainstay of Thai cooking. And now researchers are thinking it just might have cancer-fighting ingredients as well as good taste. “Tom Yum Gung is Thailand’s most favorite soup,” according to Chef Rolf Schmitz of the Regent Hotel’s Spice Market restaurant. “It’s a shrimp soup with herbal ingredients like coriander, lemon grasslime leaves and even galangal roots.” Also called hot-and-sour soup, the dish often includes straw mushrooms and a variety of chilies.
A recent joint study by Thailand’s Kasetsart University and Japan’s Kyoto and Kinki Universities has found that the ingredients in Tom Yum Gung soup are 100 times more effective in inhibiting cancerous tumor growth than other foods. Scientists are seeking to extract the chemical compounds that are most effective from soup ingredients, said Suratwadee Jiwajindra of Kasetsart University. Research also is focusing on edible plants in the region. “The ratio of the cancer pattern in Asians, especially southeast Asians, is very low compared with the pattern in the European and Western countries,” Jiwajindra said. In fact, Thais have a much lower incidence of digestive tract cancers than people do in other countries.
Traditional Thai cuisine — famed for its heavy use of herbs and spices — has long been known to have health benefits, Jiwajindra said. And despite its spicy taste, Tom Yum Gung continues to be popular, said Schmitz, calling the soup “definitely the best seller if you look into the statistics.” Every month, the soup is “at the top of the charts,” he added. “A day, I’d say we are making 50-60 cups in a restaurant like the Spice Market,” said the chef.
 From CNN.COM – Health – diet & fitness

Tom Yum Goong vegetarian recipe

I recently made a Vegetarian version of Tom Yum Goong, and it is very easy to make. Almost foolproof. Just go to Golden Mile Shopping Centre and you will find a large Thai supermarket on the second storey. They sell nicely packed fresh ingredients specially for Tom Yum Goong. Just buy a packet and some extra chillies and it will work.
The pack consists of these key ‘figures’ such as lemongrass, thai ginger, thai lime and thai lime leaf. What’s missing are the chillies which you have to buy separately.  Grab any vegetables and tofu that you like, and throw them into the soup!
Yummy!! If I can cook, so can you!
 
Anyway, here is a step by step recipe from About.com

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 cups good-tasting vegetable or faux chicken stock (makes 4 servings)
  • 1-2 stalks lemongrass , minced (see link below), OR 3-4 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass (available at Asian stores)
  • 3 whole kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian food stores)
  • 1-2 cups soft tofu, sliced into cubes
  • 1-2 red chilies, sliced, OR 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili, OR 1-2 tsp. chili sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, sliced into thin matchstick-like pieces
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms (I used shiitake), sliced
  • 2 cups baby bok choy, leaves separated or chopped if large, OR substitute broccoli or bell pepper
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 can good-quality coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp. soy sauce (use wheat-free for gluten-free diets)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil + 1/3 cup fresh coriander/cilantro, roughly chopped

Preparation:

  1. Pour stock into a soup pot. If making the stock from cubes or powder, but sure to make it strong (if it tastes good on its own, it will make for a better Tom yum soup!). Now add the prepared lemongrass, plus the lime leaves, chili, garlic, and galangal or ginger. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, or until broth is very fragrant.
  2. Add the mushrooms. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5-8 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.
  3. Add the bok choy and cherry tomatoes. Gently simmer 1-2 more minutes (bok choy should remain on the crisp side).
  4. Reduce heat to low and add the coconut milk, sugar, soy sauce, and lime juice. Finally, add the soft tofu and gently stir.
  5. Do a taste-test, adding more chili or chili sauce if not spicy enough. If not salty enough, add more soy sauce or a little more stock cube/powder or salt. Add 1 more tsp. sugar if too sour. If too salty or sweet, add another squeeze of lime juice.
  6. To serve, ladle soup into bowls with fresh basil and coriander sprinkled over. Enjoy!

 
N.B: I prefer clear Tom Yum Goong, so I didn’t add any milk.