So here is a very very stripped down version of Tom Yum.
I cut up some hot peppers (from my little city garden-yay!) and minced some fresh ginger and garlic. I sautéed in toasted sesame oil (had just gotten this on a whim and had never used it-smelled really good when I was cooking with it, not sure I tasted it in the finished soup that much though-any oil would do). The sauce pan I started with was way too small and I had to move everything to a stock pot. =/
The recipes I looked at had chicken or seafood or rice noodles added...I had none of those. hmmmm I did have a single egg plant (also from the garden...the only one that has grown off my scrawny plant =) So I cut it into really thin strips, tossed it with an egg and then tossed with panko bread crumbs. Sautéed with the toasted sesame oil on high heat so it would get very brown and crispy. I think the word "egg" in egg plant is a big tip off that it tastes like nothing until dipped in egg and then something else. ;)
I had some curry seasoning and added that to the pepper/garlic/ginger mix when it had softened. It wakes the spices back up to "dry roast" them with no liquid like that. I've done it for curry...makes the whole kitchen smell like an Indian restaurant...which is good-most days. =) Once the spices smell good and have soaked up some of the excess oil to make a paste texture, add the liquids. I used half the carton of vegetable broth and a whole can of light coconut milk. I threw in dried cilantro because I didn't have fresh-boooooo-couldn't taste it at all. Wish I had a cilantro plant out back.
I added the crispy egg plant and let simmer for a while with a lid on the pot so it wouldn't reduce to sauce texture. Right before serving, I cut up a sad little lime that has been in the fridge for...however long it takes them to start turning brown but not rotten on the outside. =) Added some juice and took my fist taste. It needed SALT. I added ground black pepper and salt...then some more salt. I think the salt I had added before soaked into the egg plant. I didn't salt the egg plant before cooking it which is a good idea-next time. Once I got the salt level right, I loved the light flavor of the coconut milk and lime together. I think I will smash the ginger better next time, there were a few bites I could taste it too strong. Some people may really like that though.
There you have it: Tom Yum sort of. ;)