Are you longing to learn the secrets behind the classic Thai soup, Tom Yum Goong? It’s easier to make than you think and full of all the sour, spicy Thai flavors you love!
- 3–4 servings of shrimp of choice (or 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size, thin pieces, or 16 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into 2 in. or so chunks )
- 3–4 stalks of fresh lemon grass
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 8 thin slices of galanga
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves
- 2–5 fresh Thai chilies, depending on heat tolerance (remove stem and smash slightly with the back of a chef’s knife, or in a mortar and pestle)
- 1 small onion thinly sliced
- 2–3 Tbsp. of Thai roasted chili paste, to taste
- 1–2 Tbsp. of tamarind paste, to taste
- 2 cups of your favorite mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2–3 small tomatoes cut into wedges
- Juice from 1–3 limes, to taste
- 1–3 tbsp fish sauce, to taste
- 1–2 tbsp brown sugar, to taste
- a handful of cilantro leaves
- Cut off the bottom tip of the lemon grass stalks, and throw out the loose outer layer. (Check out this post to learn more about how to cut lemongrass.)
- Cut the stalks into 1-inch sections at a diagonal up to the greener end, so you can see the inner core. Smash each piece lightly in your mortar and pestle or with the side of a Chef’s knife. This lets the fragrant smell seep into your kitchen (a smell that always reminds me of Fruit Loops).
- Place the cut lemongrass and broth in a soup pot. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes to let the lemongrass flavors seep into the broth. (If you are using chicken instead of shrimp, add it now. If using tofu, add at the end when you would have added the shrimp.)
- After it has simmered, add the galanga, kaffir lime leaves, chilies and onion.
- Simmer for a few more minutes, and then add the roasted chili paste, tamarind paste and mushrooms. Feel free to add more broth or water if you think it needs more liquid.
- Heat it all to a boil and then let it simmer a few minutes to get the mushrooms cooked, and the flavors mixing.
- Stir in the sliced tomato and shrimp.
- ALERT! 20 or 30 seconds after putting in the shrimp, turn off the heat. If you leave the heat on too long after adding the shrimp, the shrimp will overcook.
- Add lime juice, fish sauce and brown sugar to taste until you reach a sour, spicy, savory, umami flavor. I start with 1 tbsp or so of each flavor, and then add slowly what flavor I’d like to taste more of. Sometimes I’ll add more of the Thai chili paste too if I think it’s lacking some in that rich, umami flavor I like in tom yum.
- Sprinkle cilantro on top of each serving.
- Serve with jasmine rice.
If you don’t have Thai chilies, you can use jalapenos or serrano peppers. Or leave them out if you don’t like spicy.
You can use dried or canned forms of lemongrass, galanga and kaffir lime leaves, but know that it will change the authentic flavor of your soup, but don’t worry, it will still be delicious!
If you don’t have tamarind paste, I would recommend using more lime instead.
- Category: Soup
- Method: Soup
- Cuisine: Thai
Keywords: Tom Yum soup, Thai lemongrass soup, Tom yum goong, Thai soup, Thai spicy soup, Thai lemongrass soup recipe, Tom Yum recipe