Dtom som – tamarind and mushroom soup
20 minutes
Preparation Time
20 minutes
Cooking Time
6 (as part of a Thai banquet)


4 shallots, cleaned but leave thin
outer skin intact
1 coriander root, finely chopped
½ tsp black peppercorns, toasted
1-2 tsp shrimp paste, depending
on your taste
1 litre (4 cups) pork or chicken
stock (or the stock from cooking
the soft bones)
30 g tamarind pulp, mixed with
1 cup water, strained after extracting
as much from the pulp as possible

6 cm piece mature ginger (30 g),
sliced into thick rounds and
pounded lightly
30 g turmeric, sliced into thick
rounds and pounded lightly
10 g palm sugar
10 shiitake mushrooms (you can
substitute for other mushrooms
such as enoki, lions mane, oyster
mushroom, king browns etc)

To serve

Spring onions
Young ginger, julienned


1. Heat a frying pan on medium-high heat, induction setting 7. Add the shallots and cook, turning often, for 10 minutes, or until blackened all over.
2. Cool slightly, remove the blackened skin and finely slice.
3. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the coriander root and black peppercorns until a fine paste, then add shallots one tablespoon at a time until it forms into a mushy paste. Add the shrimp paste and pound gently until well incorporated.
4. Heat the stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil on high heat, induction setting 8. Reduce the heat to medium, induction setting 5 to simmer.
5. Add the shallot paste, ginger, turmeric and palm sugar. Simmer for ten minutes then add the tamarind water and simmer for another 5 minutes.
6. Add the mushrooms and simmer until all the mushrooms are cooked, for shiitakes this only takes approximately 3 minutes.
7. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and scatter with finely chopped spring onions, coriander and ginger.

A message from Palisa

“I love this soup, it gets the digestive juices flowing for the meal. Ideally served together, or at the beginning as a soup course. The general consensus amongst Thai’s is that this is usually made with a soft flesh white fish like mullet, however, I think non-Thai’s are not of the same favourable opinion regarding eating whole fish bones and all in a soup – too much spitting, say my non-Asian friends. Here I have made a vegetable forward soup with mushrooms. I made this version with shiitakes as that looked best to me at the Mullim market on Friday. You can easily turn this vegan by using a vegetable stock and fermented soy bean disc soaked in water, or Korean soy bean paste in place of shrimp paste, however, it does not quite impart the same umami flavours as shrimp paste.” – Palisa


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