This is a very tasty healthy soup!
The hot sour flavor of this soup is nice tasting! The beef and strong cilantro flavor of pak chee farang are a nice traditional flavor combination. This soup is very healthy and it has some medicinal qualities from the galangal, turmeric and wood ear mushrooms.
When cooking the traditional food of foreign countries, do not get hung up on those "one size fits all" kinds of rules. A chef once stated that all Thai is started by boiling coconut milk. Another chef stated that soy sauce is not used in Thai cooking and that there is no such thing as stir fry cooking in Thailand. Both statements were false!
Thailand has many regional styles of cuisine. Stir fry is popular in the Issan farm country region. Soy sauce is popular in that region too. A few Issan Thai cooks in Las Vegas have traded recipes with me, when shopping at local Las Vegas asian markets. They said to forget about what I heard about Thai cooking and that Issan farm country has its own country style cuisine. Issan is the home of good old Thai country folk! They said that only a few Thai entrees are started with boiling coconut milk and not every Thai soup contains coconut milk. The closer to Malaysia that you are, the influence of coconut milk becomes more predominant in Thai cuisine.
The regions of Thailand that border Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia share the cooking styles of those neighboring countries. Yunnan Provence Chinese cuisine shares Northern Thai cooking influences and vice versa. China has thousands of years of trade history with all their neighboring countries, so Chinese influence can be found in all asian cuisines.
Thai Hot Sour Beef Soup with Pak Chee Farang Recipe:
This recipe makes 1 large portion of soup! Prepare all the ingredients ahead of time, because this soup has a short, quick cooking time. The vegetables all should be cooked al dente and they should not be over cooked!
Place a sauce pot over medium high heat.
Add 3 cups of light vegetable broth.
Bring the broth to a boil.
Add 1 stalk of lemon grass that is tied in a knot.
Boil the broth for 10 minutes ten minutes, so the lemongrass flavor is released.
Heat a saute pan over medium high heat.
Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Add about 2 or 3 ounces of thin sliced lean beef.
Saute till the beef is lightly browned.
Add the beef slices to the soup.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced fresh galangal. (Galangal is Thai Blue Ginger. Regular ginger can be substituted.)
Add 1 minced garlic clove.
Add 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce.
Add white pepper and sea salt.
Add 1 tablespoon of Korean Red Serrano Chili Sauce. (Or 1 to 2 small Thai chile peppers.)
Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar.
(Taste the broth to see if it has a little bit of a sour flavor from the vinegar. The sour flavor should not be too strong.)
Add 2 pinches of Thai yellow curry powder.
Add 1 pinch of turmeric.
Mix a little bit of cornstarch and cold water together to form a slurry.
Add just enough of the cornstarch and water slurry while stirring to slightly thicken the soup.
Add 1/4 cup of sliced wood ear mushroom strips. (Reconstituted dried wood ear mushrooms are fine for this recipe.)
Add a few thin sliced carrot strips for color.
Add 1/4 cup of julienne sliced onion.
Add 1/2 cup of sliced white stalks of bok choy.
Add 6 to 8 whole pak chee farang leaves. (sawtooth herb)
Add 1/4 cup of thick sliced small portabella field mushrooms or shiitake.
Add 1 green onion that is cut into bite size pieces.
Add 4 baby bok choy that are cut in half lengthwise.
Add 1/4 cup of thin sliced green bell pepper strips.
Boil for one minute.
Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Add 1 teaspoon of lime juice.
Simmer the soup for 2 to 3 minutes.
Ladle the soup into a bowl.
Place some pak chee farang leaves on the rim of the soup bowl as a garnish.
Float a slice of lime on the soup.
The hot sour flavor combines with the pak chee farang in a wonderful way! Pak chee farang has a strong cilantro flavor that is perfect for beef. The lime adds to the hot sour effect. This Northeastern Thai border region style soup is tasty! Yum! ... Shawna