A mix of assorted fish and shellfish comes together in this Thai comfort food dish of Tom Yum Talay for a rustic family seafood meal.
This dish is the classic Thai hot and sour seafood soup (talay meaning “sea”), and as such it can accommodate just about any mix of fish, shellfish or crustacean that is available. Simple shrimp/prawns and whitefish are used here; scallops, calamari or mussels (even frozen) would not be unacceptable, but avoid anything oily.
The ingredient list might look intimidating at first but this recipe includes just about all the basic flavors fundamental to the balance found in Thai cuisine. The galangal and chili oil provide distinctly flavored heat, and the characteristic fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam) and lime bring the sour. Salty soy sauce is offset by the sugar, and lemongrass (whole or dried) rounds out an herbal element.
The remaining solids are completely up to the cook’s discretion. Oyster mushrooms and tomatoes are common inclusions, and feel free to add slices of jalapeño or red bird’s eye chiles. Vegetable broth or fish stock are also excellent substitutions. Evaporated milk or cream is preferred here, with seemingly traditional coconut milk reserved instead for use in tom kha gai.
Serve with a side of steamed jasmine rice and additional chili oil and soy sauce for personal taste.
Tom Yum Talay
1 lb assorted seafood
4 oz oyster mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
1-in. piece of galangal
4 c chicken stock
8 oz clam broth
5-oz can evaporated milk
2 T fish sauce
1 T soy sauce
1 T lemongrass
1 t brown sugar
1 Add the broths and lemongrass to a pot with the zest of the lime. Bring to a low boil.
2 Roughly slice the shallot and mushrooms, and mince the garlic and galangal. Add all with the tomatoes and simmer, covered, for 5-10 min.
3 Add the sauces, sugar and juice of the lime.
4 Roughly chop the fish and shell the shrimp. Turn off the heat and add to the soup, covered, until the seafood is just cooked through by residual heat.
5 Stir in the milk. Finish with chopped cilantro and chili oil.