Quick & Easy Tom Yum Goong Soup

I have always wanted to try making Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot & Sour Soup) from scratch but never made it until a few days ago, always thought it’s very difficult but oh my, I could not believe it is that (dead) easy to make. I am not sure if I should blog about this but I would like to post this recipe to spread the words how easy it is to make. At the same time, I would also appreciate if anyone of you out there can point me to the direction of a truly authentic Tom Yum Goong, I am curious to learn more. The more I searched, the more different versions I found made me confused. Nevertheless, I am very happy with the recipe from ThaiTable.com.

The recipe from Thai Table says that you should not use chicken stock, I wonder if this is true or not but the soup came out really so tasty just like the ones I had in the Thai restaurants, no kidding. Wikipedia says the basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce and crushed chili peppers.

I said to hubby that this soup can be used at dinner parties, it’s so easy and quick to make. Once you have prepared the shrimps, the remaining steps are fast. That day I did not have straw mushrooms or enoki mushrooms at home, so I used green peas instead, it worked as good.

The only thing I have omitted was the Thai Chili Sauce, we could not take too spicy anyway. So here is my first experience of homemade Tom Yum Goong. Only pity that I am not completely happy with the photo I took. These days I have to manage both cooking and Marc at the same time, I have no time to spend on presentation or fiddling around. Most convenient is to use iphone these day. Another reason I made Tom Yum Goong that day was also because I came across some reasonably decent fresh shrimps and a good price. 400g cost just less than CHF12 (CHF27.50/ kg), this is considered to be reasonable in Switzerland, I can’t compare to elsewhere where seafood is much cheaper. Side story: When the shop lady packed my purchase, luckily I checked the sticker, she charged me CHF30 (CHF75/kg), I would not want to pay this much! Luckily, it was her mistake. So it’s always good to check your bill and don’t feel embarrassed to ask for clarification.


So here is the recipe I have adapted:

Serves 2

  • 3 red chili peppers
  • 5 sprigs coriander
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (I learnt that you can freeze the unused from the pack)
  • 2 stalk of lemongrass
  • 1-2 limes
  • handful of green peas or enoki mushroom or oyster (straw) mushrooms
  • 400g fresh shrimps (shell removed and deveined, tail keep intact)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp Nam Prig Pow Optional

I find the tips and techniques mentioned by the author are very useful:

  • It was seen in many recipes calling for chicken broth. It is totally unnecessary! It was said that chicken broth is not used in Thai cooking like in Western cooking. Tom yum goong should have shrimp flavor, not chicken!
  • Ladle this soup directly into individual bowls for each person.
  • You can adjust the spiciness by cutting down or increase the chili peppers or do not cut them up, but leave them whole for decoration.


  1. Boil water in a pot. Prepare the shrimps as described above and set aside.
  2. Use the back of your knife (cleaver) to pound the lemongrass, to help releasing the flavor. Tie the lemongrass into a knot to make it easier to manage. Put the lemongrass in water and let it boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Put the fish sauce and 1-2 lime juice into the bottom of the serving bowls. Crush the chili pepper and add to the bowl ( I discard some seed to make it less spicy. Set aside.
  4. Remove the stems from the kaffir lime leaves and add the leaves to the pot. Clean and halve the mushrooms and add them to the pot. Bring it to boil. Add the shrimp and turn off the heat after 30 seconds. Shrimp gets tough very quickly, and will cook even when it is just sitting in the warm broth. Ladle the soup and divide the shrimps into the serving bowls immediately. As soon as you add the soup to the bowl, you will see that the broth becomes cloudy because of the lime juice. Add the nam prig pow if desired. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

So what is your experience of Tom Yum Goong soup, have you made it from scratch? Please feel free to share your experience. I personally is very satisfied with this recipe, the taste is exactly what I had in the Thai restaurants in Hong Kong. Can’t recall the ones I had in Bangkok, I think there were too spicy for me. One question I do have in this recipe though is that I do not find galangal is needed which I see it is used in many other Tom Yum Goong recipe. Anyone can answer this question?


7 thoughts on “Quick & Easy Tom Yum Goong Soup

  1. Hey there
    Everyone I know put chicken broth into it, this is the first time I come across a non-chicken broth, will try that tomorrow, and be back to u %)

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