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David Thompson's hot and sour soup of red snapper and turmeric

"Hot and sour soups come in all varieties and hues all over Thailand," says David Thompson. "This one is golden and sour and sharp. It's currently my favourite soup - a panacea for all that ails. When you add the fish - any type - leave it to boil for a moment and do not stir until the fish is sealed and slightly cooked. This prevents the soup from tasting too fishy. Season the soup in the serving bowl so the lime retains its pert sourness, making the soup even more comforting."

You'll need

100 gm (about 6) red shallots, peeled and bruised 80 gm (about 6) cherry tomatoes, crushed 2 lemongrass stalks (white part only) 10 gm galangal, thinly sliced 5 slices red turmeric, bruised (see note) 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn 1 coriander root, bruised Large pinch of chilli powder Pinch of white sugar 80 ml (1/3 cup) fish sauce, or to taste 240 gm red snapper fillets, boned, skin on, cut into 6-8 pieces 100 ml lime juice, or to taste 4-6 Thai scud chillies, or to taste, bruised, plus extra to serve (see note) 2 tbsp torn sawtooth coriander (pak chi farang; see note) ¼ cup Vietnamese mint leaves ¼ cup chopped coriander 2 large dry-roasted dried red chillies (see note) Deep-fried garlic, to serve (see note)   Chicken Stock 500 gm chicken bones, washed ½ head garlic 20 gm sliced ginger 2 spring onions 2-3 coriander stalks


  • 01
  • For chicken stock, blanch bones in boiling water, then drain and refresh. Cover bones with a litre of cold water in a saucepan, add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Add garlic, ginger, spring onions and coriander stalks, and simmer over low heat, topping up to keep ingredients covered, until well flavoured (2½-3 hours). Strain (discard solids). Makes 500ml stock.
  • 02
  • Bring stock, 500ml water and a pinch of salt to a simmer over medium heat. Add shallots and tomatoes and simmer until shallots are tender (4-6 minutes). Add lemongrass, galangal, turmeric, lime leaves and coriander root, bring to the boil, and boil for 1 minute. Taste and season lightly with chilli powder, sugar, a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp fish sauce – the main seasoning will come later. Add fish and simmer to just cook (1-2 minutes).
  • 03
  • Divide lime juice, scud chillies and remaining fish sauce among serving bowls, then add sawtooth coriander and Vietnamese mint to bowls, reserving some for garnish. Ladle soup and fish into bowls, then stir and adjust seasoning to taste – it should be equally salty, sour and spicy. Break dried chillies over the top, scatter with extra scud chillies, remaining herbs and fried garlic, and serve.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 - 6 people

Additional Notes

Fresh red turmeric is available from select supermarkets and Thai grocers, as are scud chillies and sawtooth coriander. Dry-roast chillies in a frying pan over medium-high heat until dark but not burnt (1-2 minutes). Deep-fry 2 very thinly sliced garlic cloves in a wok with oil at 180C, until golden (1-2 minutes), then drain on paper towels.

Drink Suggestion

Young Henrys cider

Featured in

Sep 2016

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