From Asian Vegetarian Recipes, Family Circle, Murdoch Books, 2000.
I had not used this small cookbook before though it has been on the shelf waiting. It’s a small paperback of the usual 64 pages, produced by Family Circle that promotes the fact that their recipes are double-tested. I guess that means that you should feel confident of success. In my usual procedure for using a book that I have not tried before I began with the first recipe, a soup.
This was a very simple soup to make once you actually had the necessary Asian ingredients: galangal, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, silken firm tofu and vegetarian Tom Yum paste. Three cups of stock were placed in a saucepan and a chopped red chilli, three kaffir lime leaves, a stick of lemon grass cut into about four pieces and flattened a little, a small piece of galangal sliced thinly and two tablespoons of the Tom Yum paste were added. Three cups of water were added to bring up the quantity and it was all brought to the boil and then reduced to a simmer, covered and let cook for about 5 minutes, the time it took to prepare the next ingredients.
Button mushrooms (200g) were cut in halves. A bok choy was sliced and separated into the firmer bottom pieces and the leaves. A tube of silken tofu was cut into suitable sized pieces. By the time this was all done the soup was ready for the next stage.
The button mushrooms were added to the soup and cooked for another 5 minutes. The firm pieces of bok choy were added and cooked for a further couple of minutes. The tofu and the leaves now went in long enough for the leaves to wilt and the tofu to warm through. It was now taken off the heat and the juice of half a lime added. When served into bowls, coriander leaves were added.
This was a thin but flavoursome soup. The Tom Yum paste is wonderfully spicy, hot and strongly sour. It certainly works well on the sinuses as well as being a great start to a meal.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔