Prawn tom kha soup

Try making James Martin’s warming Thai prawn and coconut milk soup for an impressive meal for two.


For the soup
  • 400ml/14fl oz coconut milk
  • 250ml/8½fl oz chicken stock
  • 50g/2oz galangal, finely sliced
  • 1 lemongrass stick, bruised and finely sliced
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
  • 4 Thai red chillies, diagonally slice
  • 250g/9oz large raw king prawns, peeled and deveined, cut into 1.5cm/½in pieces
  • 2 limes, juice only
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 75g/3oz rice vermicelli
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp finely shredded fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tbsp finely shredded fresh basil leaves
For the tempura prawns
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 25g/1oz plain flour
  • 25g/1oz cornflour
  • pinch salt
  • 75–110ml/3-4fl oz sparkling water
  • 4 raw king prawns, shelled and deveined

Preparation method

  1. For the soup, pour the coconut milk and chicken stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil.

  2. Add the galangal, lemongrass, lime leaves, red chillies and prawns and simmer over a low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the prawns are just cooked through.

  3. Add about three-quarters of the lime juice and the fish sauce, to taste.

  4. Meanwhile, place the rice vermicelli into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak for 2-3 minutes, or until softened, then drain and refresh in cold water. Drain again and mix with the vegetable oil, the reserved lime juice and the mint and basil

  5. Heat the oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

  6. Place the flour, cornflour and salt into a bowl and whisk in the sparkling water until just combined.

  7. Coat the prawns in the batter, then carefully lower into the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until golden-brown.

  8. Using a slotted spoon, remove the prawns from the pan and set aside to drain on kitchen paper.

  9. To serve, spoon the rice vermicelli into soup bowls, ladle on the soup and top with a deep-fried prawn.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen

Less than 30 mins preparation time

10 to 30 mins cooking time

Serves 2

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