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Today I will show you a unique – and virtually instant – dish to prepare. This dish is also a remarkable example of how Thai traditional cuisine utilizes local and natural ingredients in a simple, yet sophisticated, way.
The SaNoh – also known as Sesbania javanica Miq., or Sesbania Pea, is a tropical shrub which grows widely in the swampy areas of Thailand. Its beautiful clusters of flaming yellow flowers decorate the country’s waterways and canals during the hot humid summers and wet monsoon seasons.
These flowers, rich in organic carotenoid pigments, can be eaten raw, blanched or fried, and are served along with chili relishes. Sesbania pigments are used as a food coloring agent in making Thai desserts. Interestingly, recent studies showed that hens with a diet rich in SaNoh flowers were producing eggs with fabulously intense orange-yellow yolks.
Today’s tom yum goong soup recipe is a refreshing addition to the tom yum soup repertoire. The fried SaNoh flower cakes sensationally enhance the shrimp’s natural sweetness, while the flower’s bittersweet aftertaste is a superb tropical match to the citrusy and aromatic hot and sour tom yum goong soup.
tom yum goong thaawt man daawk sa noh
- 150gr minced shrimp meat (about 1 cup)
- 150gr sanoh flowers (about 3 cups)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 10 tiger prawns (head on / shell on / tail intact)
- 4 shallots
- 3 stalks lemongrass
- 4 cm long (1.5") galangal root, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- 200 gr straw mushrooms (or oyster mushrooms), cut into quarters
- 5-6 long dry chilies
- 5-15 bird's eye chilies (depending on your spiciness level preference)
- 3-5 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 saw coriander or coriander stalks
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 6 fried sanoh flower cakes
- 4 cups water
- In a mixing bowl mix the SaNoh flowers, ground shrimp meat and egg.
- Add salt.
- Add light soy sauce.
- Add oyster sauce.
- Add all-purpose flour.
- Mix all the ingredients well.
- Rub your hands with oil. Using your hands, shape and flatten the SaNoh mix into cakes of the desired size. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot, use a fork to carefully lift the SaNoh cakes. Lower them one by one into the pan to fry.
- Fry until the SaNoh cakes are deep golden in color.
- Remove cakes from the pan, and drain any excess oil.
- The outsides of the cakes are crispy; the insides are moist and soft. You are probably tempted to eat half of them right now, even before preparing the tom yum.
- Roast the dry chilies over low heat until they are slightly charred. Set aside.
- Prepare the prawns: discard their legs; peel and devein them. Squeeze and collect the fatty tomalley from the heads. Do not throw away the shells and heads. Set aside.
- Bruise the shallots and one stalk of lemongrass.
- In a pot, bring water to a boil. Add the shallots and lemongrass.
- Briefly and lightly, cook the prawns for 10-15 seconds until only 60% done.
- Remove the half-cooked prawns from the pot and set aside.
- Add the prawn heads and shells to the pot; cook just until the shells turn orange. Mix and press them, but do not cook more than three minutes – any more will increase the risk of upsetting the delicately sweet taste of the broth. Strain the broth, and discard everything but the liquids.
- Bruise the remaining lemongrass and galangal.
- Add the lemongrass and galangal to the clear broth.
- Season with 1 tablespoon of fish sauce.
- Add the straw mushrooms, and cook for couple of minutes until the mushrooms are done.
- Add the roasted dry chilies to the pot.
- Return the prawns to the pot.
- TURN OFF THE HEAT before seasoning to ensure that the flavors remain crisp and fresh.
- Crush the bird's eye chilies; keep them intact, to ensure that they float nicely.
- Add the crushed chilies to the soup.
- Add the hand-torn kaffir lime leaves.
- Add the roughly chopped saw coriander.
- Season with lime juice.
- and the remaining 2 tablespoons of fish sauce.
- Transfer the soup to a serving dish.
- Just before serving, add the fried SaNoh flower cakes. Enjoy your meal!