“Tom Yom Goong” is a fine movie staring Tony Jah but it is first and foremost the national dish of Thailand. I highly recommend both. To make Tom Yom Goong you will need:
Lemon grass, fresh whole stalks (dtah cry)
Lemon leaves (ma’groot; aka kefer lime, leech lime or porcupine orange)
Fresh green peppercorns (prik Thai sohk)
Galanga root (kah; aka Siamese ginger)
Dried red chilies
Coconut cream, about 500 ml.
Fresh shrimp (without the heads, a small pound of 20 to 30 count shrimp)
Knorr pork bullion
Tamarind (dried is okay, just soak it in water; paste is best)
Prepare the tamarind; paste is okay as is, if you have dried tamarind just soak it in hot water and mash it up with the back of a spoon to make a paste.
Wash the shrimp; clean and rinse.
Boil some water, add the bullion and set aside.
Heat the dried chili in a dry pan to release oils.
Clean and thinly slice the galanga.
Cut the tops (the stalks) off the lemon grass and cut the bulbs thinly on a bias.
Heat some coconut cream to a rapid boil.
Add the lemon grass and galanga.
Keep everything at a high rolling boil; add some coconut cream as it evaporates.
Add two big dabs of chili paste.
Add some oyster sauce and one half teaspoon of salt.
Add two big dabs of tamarind paste.
Boil to a pretty thick reduction; remove and reserve; clean the pot.
Cut more galanga.
Bring some coconut cream to a high boil.
Add lemon grass stalks, lots (break apart and bruise in a mortar and pestle first).
Add green peppercorns (about 50).
Turn off the heat.
Prepare tomatoes (cut roughly); lemon leaves (whole); shallots (peal off top layer and chop roughly).
Turn the heat back on (high, always very high).
Add shallots and shrimp.
Give the shrimp a couple of minutes to cook.
Add the rough-cut tomatoes.
When the shrimp has cooked, add the rest of the coconut cream.
Add lemon leaves.
Add dry chilies (break up by hand).
Add fish sauce (an ounce or two).
Add the juice of one lime.
Add reduction reserved in step thirteen.
Add bullion to desired thickness.
Taste and adjust as required.
Add green onion and cilantro (roughly chopped).
Ready to serve in a couple of minutes.
If this seems like a lot of work, you have correctly understood the directions. Anywhere that I have traveled in Thailand, every restaurant and every family have prepared tom yom goong. Get a few people involved in the smaller tasks and have a Beer Singh or two, tell your doctor that I said it was okay. Put ice in the beer, Thai beer is brewed to drink with ice, lots of alcohol, lots of flavor. Keep the boil dangerously hot; the fluid should noticeably reduce as you watch.
Enjoy with damn near anything, often. This dish would make a wonderful family holiday tradition.
N.B. You don’t eat most of the solid stuff in the soup. Use your own judgment.