Tom yam

Tom Yam soup has many versions, and you can use fish or seafood, chicken or pork. For a vegetarian version, just add a few more mushrooms (or use tofu instead of meat,) and substitute the fish sauce with salt.

Tom yam soup

It is essential to prepare all ingredients in advance and not overcook the soup. The cooking process shouldn’t take longer than 5-10 minutes. (Here’s another versions worth trying)

Ingredients (2 servings):

  • 6 shrimp (preferably fresh whole ones) or 200 g fish, seafood, chicken or pork
  • 3 cups water or stock
  • 2 tablespoons sliced galangal
  • 2 stalks lemon grass (only the white part)
  • 2-3 shallots
  • 3-7 small fresh chilies (Thai chilies preferred)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4-6 mushrooms (oyster or straw mushrooms preferred, but others will do too)
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2-4 drops kaffir lime oil 5%
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves


If you’re using shrimp, peel and clean them (leaving only the tail). Save the heads and shells for the stock.

If you’re using fish, cut it into large pieces.

If you’re using chicken (preferably parts with bones, but breast will do too) or pork, cut it into bite size pieces.

Cut the lemon grass stalks into 3 parts and slightly bruise them.

Peel the shallots and bruise them.

Bruise or crush the chillies, depending on the level of heat you like (crushed ones would be a lot hotter).

Crush the garlic cloves.

Half the mushrooms or leave them whole, depending on their size.

Half the tomatoes.

Boil the water (or stock).

If you’re using shrimp, add them to the boiling water, cook for about 20 seconds, remove from the pot and set aside.

Add the heads and shells of the shrimp and boil until they change color (5-10 seconds).

Drain the stock through a sieve, put the liquid back in the pot and boil again.

If you’re using chicken, pork or fish, skip the draining part and let them boil for 5 minutes.

Add the lemon grass, galangal, shallots, garlic and chilies and boil for 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes and mushrooms and boil for 1-2 minutes.

If you’re using shrimp, add them to the soup now.

Turn off the heat, add the fish sauce and lime juice and adjust them according to your own taste. Some cooks add a little bit of sugar, but that is optional.

Add the kaffir lime oil and cilantro leaves, mix well and serve with plain white rice.

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