Lobster tom yum

Lobster tom yum

Tom yum goong mung kor

Street Food Asia
4–6 As part o f a shared me al
Alan Benson

Phetchaburi Soi 5… Remember this address, because you seriously want to come here when you travel to Bangkok – it’s got one of the best concentrations of street food in the entire city. Plus, the residential neighbourhood around here has a particularly nice, authentic vibe. There’s a great (and wildly popular) restaurant called P’aor, in an old shop-house. As you walk in, you notice hefty pots simmering away, filled with a deep orange-red broth that looks for all the world like a French seafood bisque. Except you know it’s not when the whiffs of lemongrass, galangal, chillies and makrut leaves start to take hold. It’s actually tom yum and while I’ve had a lot of tom yum in my time, it’s never been anything like this. It’s not clear, as tom yum usually is, but rather rich and creamy and I find out their secret is in stirring tomalley – which is essentially the custard-like goo found in prawn and lobster heads – and tinned evaporated milk into the soup. Lobster makes the dish even more lavish and special. By the way, P’aor cook plenty of other amazing things but their tom yum, unique in Bangkok, is definitely their signature. The serve is so enormous (you get an entire lobster, plus stuffed squid, stuffed crab, mussels, salmon and boiled egg) that you can easily share it among two or even three people – it’s a dish and a half. This version has been pared back a bit, but is no less delicious.


Quantity Ingredient
1 x 400g small whole raw lobster, cleaned
1 tablespoon salt
1 litre see method for ingredients
2 lemongrass stems, bruised, white part only
3cm piece of fresh galangal, finely sliced
4 bird’s eye chillies, bruised
3 red asian shallots, peeled and bruised
4 makrut leaves (kaffir lime), torn
4 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons thai roasted red chilli paste, (see glossary)
150ml evaporated milk
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 spring onions, cut into 4 cm lengths
3 saw-tooth coriander leaves, sliced, (see glossary)
2 limes, juiced
1 hard-boiled egg, halved
100g rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
1 handful coriander, to garnish


  1. Place the lobster on a chopping board. Using a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and starting at the tail end, cut the lobster in half lengthways through the tough outer shell.
  2. Cover the base of a stockpot, saucepan or steamer with 4 cm of water and stir in 1 tablespoon of salt to dissolve, then add a steamer basket to the pan and bring the water to the boil over a high heat. Add the lobster halves to the pan head first, cover with a lid, and steam for 8 minutes (the lobster will only be partially cooked at this point and will finish cooking in the stock later). Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the stock, lemongrass, galangal, chillies, shallots and makrut leaves to a stockpot or large saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce, Thai roasted red chilli paste, evaporated milk and simmer for another 2–3 minutes, then add the lobster and cherry tomatoes and return to the boil.
  4. Skim off any impurities from the surface of the broth, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 6 minutes, or until the lobster is just cooked. Stir in the spring onion, saw-tooth coriander, lime juice and hard-boiled egg halves.
  5. To serve, place the vermicelli noodles in a large serving bowl. Remove the lobster halves from the broth and place on top of the noodles, then ladle over the broth until the noodles are fully submerged. Garnish with coriander and serve.
South-East Asian
Street Food
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