I had to make some substitutions after two days of trying to find some ingredients. And I had to adjust the recipe because I am an idiot. Despite the fact that it doesn’t really look like Tom Yum, it does taste good and scratches an itch! Also, the recipe is quite easy! Maybe 15 minutes total? It is very easy.
So first off, I didn’t even think about the fact that when you buy frozen shrimp in bags it never ever has the head attached. This recipe has you make the broth base with the shrimp heads, but since I didn’t have any I used the shells and then once I strained it I added one packet of hon dashi instant dashi. Hon dashi is made from bonito, not shrimp, but it is what I had on hand, and I think it did an ok job. I used 4g (which was the amount to use when making 2.5 cups miso soup, and this recipe used 4 cups of water).
I could not find straw mushrooms anywhere. I ended up using brown beech mushrooms instead because they are nice and petite.
I also goofed and thought I had roasted chili paste at home when in fact I had fresh chili paste. This likely contributed to the fact that the broth is not really that nice red, but whatevs.
And finally, I used one datil pepper instead of 3 Thai chilis. Datil peppers are approximately 3x as spicy (scoville units) as Thai chilis (in general) and I have a million datil that I grew this year, and when you buy Thai chilis at the Asian supermarket they come in packs of like… 50. I do not need that many additional hot chilis when I already have a ton of hot chilis. So datils it is.
I used my own home-grown lemongrass.
The results! The broth is a bit fishy (in a good way), and lime-y and lemongrass-y and very spicy. The cilantro is nice and the shrimp cooked up perfectly! It might not be exactly correct Tom Yum, but it was very tasty, would eat any day.
Oh, and I also noticed you actually can buy Tom Yum instant broth base when I was trolling the market. I wonder how it compares? Maybe next time i will get some to try out…