YUM! Tom Yum Goong – Thailand in a bowl!

I lived many, many years in Thailand and for me it was an amazing food adventure filled with colourful cultural experiences and dazzling dishes. This soup is definitely one of my favourites.

The soup is very easy to make but you MUST have all the ingredients ready.

The ingredients used in this soup reflect the leading tastes of Thailand; spiciness,saltiness, sweetness and acidity. You must taste the soup to balance the flavours!


  • 3 cups prawn stock or chicken stock
  • 3 stems lemon grass, cut and pounded (to release the essential oils)
  • 1 inch galangal, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup straw mushrooms or oyster mushrooms cut in quarters
  • 12 prawns
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, with the centre line removed and torn apart
  • 2 tablespoons sawtooth coriander, or 1/4 cup of coriander leaves, sliced
  • coriander leaves, picked to garnish
  • 2 red chillies, thinly sliced diagonally

Seasoning Sauce Ingredients

  • 2-4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2-4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 small birds eye chillies pounded
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-3 tablespoons roasted chilli paste (Nam Prik Pow), Thai chilli paste. It depends how spicy you want the soup.

Method for the Seasoning Sauce

  • In a small mixing bowl combine the fish sauce and small hot chillies. Set aside.

Method for the Stock

  • Start by cleaning the prawns. Remove the heads (use them to make the stock).
  • Using a pair of scissors cut through the shell and clean the inside of the prawns. Set the prawns aside until you are ready to use them.
  • In a medium size pot bring two cups of water to the boil, then add the prawn heads and boil them until the water turns bright pink in colour.
  • Press the prawn heads with a spatula to extract the goodies from the heads.
  • Using a colander drain the prawn stock and using a spoon press hard to extract all the juices from the heads which can then be discarded.

Method for the Soup

  • In a pot pour the prawn stock or chicken stock and then add the lemon grass and galangal. Bring to the boil.
  • Then add the mushrooms and prawns.
  • When boiling again, pour in the seasoning sauce mixture, kaffir lime leaves, sawtooth coriander (coriander leaves) and roasted chilli paste.
  • Add the sugar and lime juice. The last ingredient to add to the soup is the lime juice. If you add it too early the soup might turn sour. Turn off the heat once the lime juice is added.
  • To serve, laddle the soup into bowls and garnish with coriander, red chilli slices and serve.


  • There are no good substitutes for any of the ingredients to make this delicious soup. They can usually be found in any Asian supermarket.
  • Sawtooth coriander can be difficult to find but coriander leaves can add almost the same flavour to the soup.
  • It is also important to have all the ingredients prepared because this soup once it boils the process of adding the ingredients is very fast.
  • Kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lemon grass are the holy trinity of this soup. Only use the part of the lemon grass that is still purple.

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