Thai Tom Yum Soup, full of herbal flavors and vibrant colors, with sweet, spicy and sour notes. This soup is at the top of the list of my favorite Asian soups, along with pho bo soup. This soup is incredibly easy and quick to make too. It only appears to be difficult to make. However, once you have all the ingredients in place, it literally takes less than 10 minutes to cook. It’s the soup that both kids and adults enjoy and you can easily customize each soup bowl to be as hot or as mild as you want. Once you try this recipe, you will forget about going out to satisfy your tom yum cravings.

For the broth:

  • 8 cups chicken stock (unsalted, homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (or three smaller stalks)
  • 4 inches galangal (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 6 lime leaves (also known as kaffir leaves; rinsed)
  • 1 shallot (peeled)

For the soup:

  • 1 lb straw mushrooms (or white button, or oyster mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp chile jam (homemade or store-bought, plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce (plus more to taste)
  • 3 dried red chiles (broken in half and seeds reserved)
  • 1 lb shrimp (peeled and deveined, with heads and tails intact if desired)
  • 4 Tbsp lime juice (plus more to taste)

For garnish:

  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro leaves (finely chopped)
  • 4 fresh bird’s eye chiles (stemmed and bruised; seeded and de-veined for less heat; whole or sliced on the diagonal)
  • Four lime leaves (optional, but they look good in a bowl; not to be eaten)
  • Four cilantro twigs (optional; one twig per bowl)



  1. Preparing the ingredients
  2. Prepare the lemongrass stalks by trimming off leafy parts and the root end, and removing the tough outer layers of the bulb. Cut the bulb portions into 3-inch pieces and smash them with a cast iron pan or the blunt edge of a heavy knife until they are bruised and (almost) split in half. If they split, it's fine.
  3. Cut the shallot in half and smash with cast iron pan, until it's bruised and juices start running. 

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