Makan Time in Singapore


Tom Yam Polamai - fruit soup

This is a traditional combination of flavors - fruit and vegetables. As
it happens we have just had a family anniversary, remembering my long
deceased father-in-law. The family gathering meant that we all had to
bring food for the table, and the nature of the occasion meant that the
dish had to be vegetarian (see note below). This is a completely
vegetarian dish (unlike the normal "nearly vegetarian" Thai offering)

We wnt to the market and we bought a variety of produce that would make
the soup. Because this is essentially based on what was in the market,
and of high quality, I won't follow my usual technique of listing a
detailed ingredients list, but shall include the quantities in the
method. This is also because we were catering for a large gathering, and
the dish was for 14 people. I am sure you can scale things to suit your
actual circumstances.



water melon
cantaloupe melon
long beans
baby corn
coriander / cilantro

nam prik pao (chili paste in a bean oil)
prik chi fa (Thai jalapenos)
Tabasco sauce
soy sauce



core the tomatoes, put the skin and the seed pulp into a medium sized
sauce pan, put the tomatoe flesh into a liquidiser and produce about 2
cups of puree/juice. You could of course use tomatoe juice, but it is
very expensive in Thailand.

Next cut up some water melon and force the pieces through a fine seive
or chinois to give about 2 cups of juice. Add the seeds to the saucepan.

Similarly cut up the pineapple and put enough cubes in a liquidiser to
make a cup of juice. Peel and segment limes and produce a cup of lime

Add the trimmings of the vegetables to the saucepan and add 6 cups of
water. Boil vigorously for 10 to 15 minutes then sieve the juice to
remove the vegetable residue.

Return the vegetable stock to the saucepan, and use to blanch a cup of
long beans (the Thai variety is called tua phak yao - they are sometimes
sold as 'Yak's Tails' in the West - I don not recomend trying to
pronounce the Thai name (it sounds like "too-ah f*** you"). Also blanch
a cup of brocolli florets and a cup of asparagus, which has been cut up
into the tips and the stems sliced thinly on the diagonal.

Reserve the blanched vegetables, and reduce the stock to about 6 cups.
Add the fruit juice, and a cup each of sliced shallots (purple onions -
these are cheap and plentiful in Thailand, but I understand they are
expensive in the west - substitute red onion if you prefer), a cup of
baby corn cobs, a cup of phak chi (coriander/cilantro plants, finely
sliced, roots and all), and a cup of celery (we used 'chinese celery'
which is more delicate than the heavier occidental plant), and about 2
tablespoons of garlic sauted in oil (this is a stock item from the
fridge in our case).

Bring to a simmer and adjust the taste for salt/sweet by adding a salt
agent (we actually would normally use fish sauce, but this is an animal
product, so on this case we used light soy. You caould also use ordinary
salt), and a little sugar to taste.

Next you add the hot element: we add half a cup of nam prik pao (a
toasted chili paste in bean oil), half a cup of sliced prik chi fa (Thai
jalapenos), half a cup of sliced prik chi fa daeng (red jalapenos), and
about 2 table spoons of a mild sour pepper sauce such as Tabasco.

These ingredients are considered mild. However I am familiar with people
who cannot eat raw jalapenos as a snack, so you might wish to start with
a smaller quantity and add until the taste is balanced.

Bring back to the boil and make a final adjustment to the taste.

Put the beans, asparagus and broccoli in a salad bowl, and add two or
three pieces of cantaloupe, two or three pieces of pineapple, and two or
three grapes per diner. Toss these ingredients with a touch of salt and
freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, put a helping of the "salad" in a soup bowl and ladle the soup
over it. Diners can then add prik pom (chili powder), sugar, nam pla
prik (chilis in fish sauce - if you are particular, make this up with
soy sauce to avoid the animal ingredient), and prik dong (red chilis in


Note: we prepared the soup for the table in a "Mongolian Fire Pot", but
you could just as easily use a slow crock. The beans, asparagus and
brocolli, with the fruit can be served at room temperature or cold.

Special thanks to - Muoi Khuntilanont.