Tom Saep Neua - Hot 'n' Sour Soup

Dtom Saep Neua (ต้มแซบเนื้อ)
Hot ‘n’ Spicy Beef Soup

Recipe courtesy of Andy Ricker, Pok Pok Restaurant
110g (4 oz) raw beef (preferably chuck or blade) sliced thinly against the grain

Offal – Optional
55 g (2 oz) sliced and poached beef offal (liver, heart, stomach, etc.)
2 tbs sliced beef tendon which has been boiled until tender

350 ml (12 fl oz) good beef stock
4 – 8 Thai bird’s eye chilies, lightly crushed and halved lengthwise on the diagonal (more or less depending on your love of chilli)
3 – 5 thin slices fresh galangal
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thinly on the diagonal
6 – 8 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1½ tbs (1 fl oz) fresh lime juice
1½ tbs (1 fl oz) fish sauce
4 – 5 button mushrooms cut into chunks (use another if you prefer)
1 ts sugar
1 tbs sawtooth coriander (culantro), julienned
1 tbs spring onions, finely chopped
Leaves from one stalk of fresh Thai basil

1 tbs coriander root
½ tbs whole black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic
½ ts salt

If you love Thailand’s world-famous soup, Tom Yam Goong – Hot ‘n’ Sour Soup with Prawns, then you’ll love this NorthEastern version called Tom Saep.

This recipe for Tom Saep is a variation on the one Andy uses at his Whiskey Soda Lounge in Portland.

The garlic and coriander root paste is often used as a marinade for things like prawns, when they are wrapped in spring roll wrappers and deep fried.

The depth of flavour and the spice level that develops with both the paste and fresh chilli, is sensational. The combination of the fresh chilies and the paste in the broth hits the tip of your tongue initially, with a warm glow hitting the back of your throat at the same time.


Pound the chopped coriander root, black peppercorns, garlic, and salt into a paste in a mortar and pestle.

Put the paste, fish sauce, stock, and aromatics (galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves) in a medium pot and bring to boil for 5 minutes.

Add the beef, the optional offal and tendon along with the mushrooms. Season with lime juice and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the Thai basil. Adjust the seasoning to your taste with sugar, more fish sauce or lime juice. The flavour should be hot, sour, medium salty, and a little bit sweet.

Remove from the heat and serve topped with sawtooth coriander and spring onion slices.

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