Foodstuff: Tom Yum Soup Paste (Jack Hua Brand)

After sampling the Tom Yum soup at Bangkok Thai Garden in Ottawa back in December, I remembered a commercially made soup paste that I used to purchase quite frequently and, on an excursion to Chinatown, I managed to find it again. I couldn’t recall the brand name but I recognized the jar immediately and was surprised to see that the manufacturer is the same as for the Thai Crab Paste I featured in another ‘Foodstuff’s’ post last year. Anyway, while I enjoy Tom Yum soup well enough, I don’t make it that often but I discovered, in past culinary adventures, that this paste is extremely versatile and can be used in all sorts of preparations beyond the basic soup…

From the ingredient list you can see that the paste is based on onion and dried shrimp in soybean oil with chili, lemongrass and galangal providing an aromatic spiciness. Lime, kaffir lime leaf and citric acid are included for the sour flavor, which is central to a good Tom Yum soup.

The paste, as you can see, is a homogenous, oily blend and looks very much like the Crab paste made by the same manufacturer. The redness of the oil does not come exclusively from chili, however, but rather from Paprika.

Culinary Use

Obviously, the primary use for the paste is in making Tom Yum soup and, above, I have pictured a very simple version I put together for this post. I used a homemade shrimp stock to make it, but plain water, or even a chicken stock would work just as nicely. I sautéed a few matchsticks of celery with a few shrimp and then added the stock along with a bit of sliced black mushroom. Fresh mushrooms are more common, but the black variety are nice too. The end result is very basic, of course, and if you would like to see a prettier and more complex version using a different brand of paste, you might want to check out the recipe at Tran Quynh

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned, this paste can be used in all sorts of ways, including other types of soup or casseroles. In the past however, I have used it far more often as a flavor base for stir-fries and I will be posting a recipe using pork tenderloin along these lines very shortly. Stay tuned…

 

 

14 Comments

    1. It is definitely worth a try. I will be using some either tonight or tomorrow night.

  1. How interesting! I always see jars of this and never think to buy it. Next time, I will. Thanks for these great product reviews, John!

    1. My pleasure 🙂 The stuff is pretty interesting to play around with. I’d love to see anything you come up with. I think just a little in fried rice would be good too!

      1. That would definitely be interesting! Like a Vietnamese version of kimchi fried rice maybe!

    1. I often have things in my cupboard that languish for ages until I figure out what to do with them 🙂 I have anothe recipe using the stuff that will be posted in the next week or two…



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