If I was told that I had to choose only one type of food to eat for the rest of my life -- and I'm not sure who'd have the power or cruelty to mandate such a thing, but pretend with me here -- I'd be very upset and say something like, "The edible type."
That's because I adore food and believe eating is an art. For the sensual delight, for the ability to bring people together, for the nostalgia it can inspire, and for the vast historical and cultural stories behind it, food and eating are among the most intense experiences we have.
You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients. - Julia Child
But if I was told I had to narrow my answer way down, I'd spend a long time deciding between chocolate cake or Tom Yum Soup. Then I would finally do the responsible thing and choose the magic soup.
Tom Yum Soup originated in Thailand and is one of the most popular and reverred dishes in all of Thai cuisine for four primary reasons:
1) It is absolutely delicious
2) It is about as healthy as healthy gets
3) It is QUICK and easy to make
4) It is versatile -- add this ingredient, or keep that one out, and it creates a new but still incredible-tasting soup
Characterized by its distinct hot and sour flavors -- though if you don't like spicy you can opt to keep the "hot" out (but how dare you!) -- the basic broth is made of stock and many fresh ingredients like lemon grass, garlic, lime juice, shitake mushrooms, peppers and crushed chilis.
A Delicious Bowl of Immunity
Tom Yum Soup has been under scientific study because of its belief to have immune-boosting powers to help with cold and flu viruses.
Thailand's Kasetsart University and Japan's Kyoto and Kinki Universities conducted a joint study and found that the ingredients in Tom Yum Soup are 100 times more effective in inhibiting cancerous tumor growth than other foods.
"The ratio of the cancer pattern in Asians, especially southeast Asians, is very low compared with the pattern in the European and Western countries," says researcher Jiwajindra of Kasetsart University.
In fact, Thai people have a much lower incidence of digestive tract cancers than do people of other countries.
So if the idea of amazing taste and health in a bowl appeals to you -- not to mention an excuse to repeat the fun name ... try saying "Tom Yum" five times fast! -- try this easy-to-follow recipe below.
NOTE: This is my friend's amazing version of Tom Yum Soup...