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The tom yum soup recipe is one of the most popular dishes in Thailand, a real firestorm in your mouth due to its intense and complex flavor. Tom yum (or tom yam) is a richly flavored, spicy and tangy Thai soup made with lemongrass and lime leaf (or bergamot if you don’t have kaffir lime). There are many variations of it, and the most classic usually does not contain coconut milk. It can be prepared with any broth, or replace the shrimp with chicken for a slightly different version.
This soup is native to Thailand, but is also widely served in other countries of Southeast Asia and has been popularized around the world.
As with many Thai dishes, the name of the recipe can be written in different ways, and it is better known in English versions like this:
Tom Yam Kung or Tom-Yum-Goong which is also the title of a Thai boxing film (the honor of the Dragon (Tom-Yum-Goong), and also Tom Yam Koung.
This is tom yum soup in Thai: ต้มยำ กุ้ง , it’s actually just thai soup with lemongrass and shrimp plus various spices added.
The word “Tom” refers to boiling, broths, ” Yam ” refers to a kind of Thai spicy and sour salad.
The Tom Yum is characterized by its distinct sour and pungent flavor, with aromatic plants, such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves (often mistakenly called bergamot), galangal root and other spices which are generously used in the soup or you cam also add some broccoli too.
Kung means shrimp but you can also make Tom Yum with chicken (kai) or tofu (tao hou).
At the restaurant you should ask for:
Tom yam kai: lemongrass and Chicken Soup
Tom yam tao hou: lemongrass and tofus soup
Soup with lemongrass and shrimps: Tom Yum Kung Recipe
Preparation: 10 min
Cook time: 18 min
Total time: 28 min
One of the most famous Thai dishes, and one of the best soups in the world if you ask me, Tom Yum Kung.
Type of dish: soup
Cuisine: Thai – typical through the whole country
Ingredients and method for making Tom Yam Kung (Tom Yam Goong) soup
- 2 litres of water
- 4 lemongrass stems
- 1 piece of galangal about an inch long
- 10 Kaffir lime leaves
- 10 Thai peppers
- 5 cloves of garlic
- ½ Kilo shrimps
- 300 grams oyster mushrooms
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 2 medium sized white onions
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 8-12 tablespoons fish sauce according to your taste
- 8-12 tablespoons lime juice about 10 to 15 limes
- 1 handful of coriander leaves
- The first thing to do is put about 2 liters of water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
- Then start by squeezing the limes.
- Slice about 10 limes and collect the juice in a small bowl, then set them aside for later.
- Take your lemongrass stems, first remove the outermost leaf and discard it.
- Then use a kitchen mallet or meat tenderizer to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavors.
- Then, just cut it diagonally into strips of 1 inch or more.
- Take about an inch of galangal root and cut it into slices.
- Roughly crumple about 10 leaves of kaffir lime, you do not need to cut them, just tear them - this will help release their flavor.
- Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.
- Take about 10 Thai chili peppers (prik kee noo) and remove the stems, then cut them in half.
- You can remove the seeds so that it is less spicy.
- Throw lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, garlic and chili peppers into the water.
- You can put the lid on in order to release all the flavors faster.
- Now prepare your shrimp (or any meat of your choice with which you would like to make tom yum).
- Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes, and then you can put the shrimp in it and reduce the fire.
- Then add your mushrooms, which you need to rinse beforehand.
- Take two roma tomatoes and two small white onions, cut them into quarters and add them to the tom yum soup.
- If you use shrimp for this recipe, you could get some foam on your soup, in which case you can just lightly skim the top and throw it away.
- Boil the tom yam for about 2-3 minutes.
- Then add about 6 tablespoons of fish sauce first, and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
- You might need more of each, but start with that and taste it.
- Boil your tom yam for a minute or two, then turn off the heat.
- Don't let your tom yum be overcooked, so keep an eye on it.
- Mushrooms and onions should be soft, and when they are, then your traditional Thai shrimp soup is ready.
- After your fire is turned off, add about 8 tablespoons of lime juice (depending on how you like it).
- Be sure to try the soup and adjust it until your tom yum is with nice sour and salty taste.
- You may need to add some more fish sauce, sugar or lime juice at the end if you like.
- Finally, chop a handful of fresh coriander, put it in the soup to give the last touch to your tom yam.
Lime juice and coriander taste fresher and brighter when not cooked. That is why it is necessary to turn of the heat before adding them at the end.
This one is the traditional version (and therefore, without coconut milk!) and at the same time it’s “easer” sort of, from the famous Thai tom yum soup, made with ingredients that are easily found in Asian grocery stores of the major cities.
I learned how to make this soup, with great pleasure, in one of the cooking schools in Chiang Mai and then tried it several times and adapted the recipe to my taste. This yummy soup can be made several hours before serving and then warmed up.
And here is a video recipe for Tom Yam soup you can check out:
Enjoy and share your thoughts if you have made tom yum before or if you have any questions in the comments below.