Tom Yum Goong | Hot & Spicy Thai Shrimp Soup

Recipe Image

Total Time:    25 minutes

Nutritional per serving
Calories: 207 kcal
Fat: 6 g
Protein: 26 g
Carbohydrates: 6 g

Since I’ve spent quite a lot of time in Thailand over the last few years my passion for Thai food is immense and it’s easily my #1. Not only is most of it super healthy and low in calories, most of the dishes are quite easy to prepare and cook at home.

There are some unhealthy aspects which I’ve been looking to address, for example, many traditional dishes use refined sugar as it’s great for striking a balance between sweet and sour, and almost always white steamed rice is served on the side.

Neither of those are exactly desirable but unfortunately they’re not really needed. I’ve been putting a lot of time into tweaking some of the traditional recipes and I’ve pretty much nailed Tom Yum Goong now so it’s time to share.

There are loads of recipes on the internet but unfortunately many of them are made unnecessarily complicated; this one, however, is super easy and can be put together in about 25 minutes.

You’ll need to hunt out a couple of authentic ingredients such as Galagal, Kaffir Lime Leaves and Lemongrass but most can be found in the big supermarket chains these days.

One which may be particularly hard to find is Nam Prik Pao (Thai Chilli Paste), although, there are quite a few recipes for this online and, as a total last resort, you could just use a normal chilli paste.

nam-prik-pao-mae-pranomIf you can find it, in my opinion, the best pre-packaged Nam Prik Pao is from Mae Pranom which I found in my local supermarket – this will really give your Tom Yum Goong an authentic feel. I’ll probably try to replicate this at some point and drop the refined sugar but as you’ll only be using a small amount it’s no big deal.


Makes 2 servings

  • 1 litre chicken broth
  • 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 inch piece fresh Galangal (or ginger if you can’t find it)
  • 2 red Thai bird eye chiles, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoons Nam Prik Pao / Thai Chilli Paste (or any chilli paste if you can’t find the authentic stuff)
  • 200g fresh white, button mushrooms, rinsed and halved
  • 200g fresh Shitake mushrooms, rinsed and halved
  • 200g large, fresh shrimp, peeled with tails on
  • Juice of 2 fresh limes
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced, horizontally
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped


Stage 1 – preparation

  1. To start, add a couple of chicken stock cubes to a litre of boiling water and let it mix while you prepare the rest of the the ingredients. (In most authentic recipes the stock is made by boiling down the left over shrimp heads, however, this isn’t for everyone so using chicken (or vegetable) stock is more suitable!).
  2. Prepare the Galangal by slicing into small, coin like disk shapes. Lightly bruise each disk by lightly tapping with a wooden spoon to release the flavours.
  3. Prepare the lemongrass by removing the outer layer and cutting into 1 inch lengths, again lightly bruising to release the flavours.
  4. Prepare the mushrooms by washing and slicing into halves or quarters.
  5. Prepare the chillies by rinsing, removing the seeds and finely chopping.
  6. In a bowl, add the lime juice, fish sauce and Thai chilli paste.
  7. If they haven’t already been cleaned at the supermarket, prepare the shrimp by washing and peeling, leaving the tails on.
  8. Finely chop the spring onions and cilantro and put to one side as they are for the final garnishing.

Stage 2 – cooking (the easy part)

  1. Bring the chicken stock to the boil over medium heat in a saucepan.
  2. Lower the heat, add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal, then briefly raise the heat again to bring back to the boil.
  3. Lower the heat again to a light simmer, add the mushrooms, fish sauce, lime juice and Thai chilli paste.
  4. Stir and let simmer for a couple of minutes to let all of the flavours infuse into the broth.
  5. Add the shrimp and chillies, stir and continue to simmer until the shrimp has turned pink – this should only take about 2 minutes and if you cook for longer the shrimp is likely to be overcooked.
  6. Serve out evenly into two bowls, garnish with cilantro and spring onion.

Tips & Alternatives

  1. It’s worthy of note that the lemongrass and lime leaves are for flavour only and shouldn’t be eaten, although, some people do enjoy lemongrass.
  2. If you like it spicy (like me) 2 bird eye chillies will not be enough. Personally I use about 10 bird eye chillies and leave the seeds in, however, this makes for a pretty eye-watteringly hot soup!!

11-Feb 2015, by Lee Sandwith

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