Tom Yum Goong

I’m sure this dish doesn’t need much of an introduction, as it is one of the most well-known Thai dishes. Despite having a complex flavour and aroma combination, you’ll be surprised that Tom Yum soup is actually rather easy to make from scratch. This is because it is not based on curry paste, so the aromas come purely from the infusion of different Thai herbs.

There are 2 types of Tom Yum soup — clear or opaque. Opaque is basically the clear type plus milk and chilli paste. The opaque one is probably the more popular version, even in Thailand. But it is the clear one that I find to be more sophisticated tasting, and therefore it is harder to make, because flavouring it to the right balance requires more precision with the clear version. Here we give you the instructions for both clear and opaque.

Tom Yum Goong (ต้มยำกุ้ง)

By November 20, 2013

This recipe calls for galangal, which is not traditionally used in Tom Yum, so traditionalists might say something about that. But for me I think Tom Yum is such a flavourful soup with so many different aromas going on, I don't think the addition of galangal is a bad fit for the overall flavour profile.

You'll notice that I wrote 2-5 Tablespoons for the fish sauce and lime juice, and also 7-10 bird's eye chilli. This is only because some people like their soup more spicy, salty or sour than others. Start with the first number and taste and adjust as you go.

  • Prep Time : 20 minutes
  • Cook Time : 10 minutes
  • Yield : 2 servings



1. Shell and de-vein the prawns. Boil the shell in a little more than 1 1/2 cups of water, with lemongrass to make the stock. Discard the shells and reserve the stock.

2. Cook prawn fat gently in a separate pan with vegetable oil. Reserve for later use.

3. Bring stock to a boil, add coriander root, lemongrass, chilli, and galangal for infusion.

4. Add mushroom, cook 3 minutes, then add prawns, don't stir. Flavour with fish sauce (also milk and chilli paste at this stage if you want to make it an "opaque" Tom Yum).

5. Add kaffir lime leaves. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked prawn fat and lime juice. Adjust seasoning and serve.

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