Tom Yum is a popular Thai Shrimp soup with notes of citrus and spice but can be adjusted to your liking.
You'll find Tom yum at most restaurants here in the states and all over Thailand. The Goong part means shrimp, however you can also make it with chicken, or add coconut milk for Tom Kha.
While the soup does not take long to make, it does require some unique herbs that really give Tom Yum it's authentic flavor. Herbs like lemongrass and lime leaves, have great immune boosting properties.
Ingredients to make Tom Yum Goong
Lemongrass, Makrut Lime Leaves, Mushrooms, Fish Sauce, Lim Juice, Thai Chili or Chili Oil, Cilantro, and Shrimp.
Lemongrass- Most stores will carry lemongrass, otherwise an Asian market will have it. Slice the stalk into 4 in pieces, then gently pound it with the backside of a knife to release the oil from the lemongrass. You’ll start to smell the citrus aroma.
The lemongrass stalk is not meant to be eaten, it is very tough and used to flavor the broth.
Makrut Lime Leaves- This ingredient can be challenging to find. The oil and aroma is used to flavor the soup and give it a hint of citrus. Like the lemongrass, the lime leaves get pounded with the back of a knife. They are also not meant to be eaten and can be removed before serving.
If you cannot find fresh lime leaves, dried lime leaves can be substituted. And if you don’t have either, try using some fresh lime peel to mimic the flavor of the leaves.
Fish Sauce- This gives the soup a salty and umami flavor. Fish sauce is pretty accessible and can be found at most stores. For a vegan version, use salt instead.
Thai Chili Peppers or Chili Oil- Traditionally Tom Yum is served spicy with Thai Bird's eye chilis. You can either leave them whole, or slice them for more spice. I also like to add a spoon of chili oil for more color and spice to the soup.
How to Cook the Shrimp Properly
When cooking with shrimp, the main thing is to not overcook it. Shrimp can turn from soft to hard and rubbery very quickly.
Once the aromatics have simmered for about 10 minutes, turn off the heat then add the shrimp to the pot. They will be done in about 1 minute, that's it!
It can be tempting to add the shrimp while the soup is still boiling, but don't. They will overcook.
How to Serve Tom Yum Goong
Tom Yum Goong is best served right away and the shrimp does not reheat well.
As mentioned above, the lime leaves, lemongrass, and cilantro bunch, are not meant to be eaten. They are just to flavor the soup. You can remove them prior to serving into bowls.
Tom Yum Goong Recipe
- 5 Cups Water
- 1 teaspoon Salt (Have more on hand)
- ¼ Yellow Onion Sliced
- 1 Stalk Lemongrass (Cut into 4 inch pieces and pound with the back of a knife)
- 6 Markrut Lime Leaves (Rolled up together and bruised with back of a knife.)
- ½ bunch Cilantro (tied in a bunch, but save some leaves for garnish)
- 2-4 Bird's eye chili's Depending on your spice level, gently pounded with back of knife to release spice.
- 1 Roma Tomato cut into chunks
- 4 oz White Mushrooms sliced
- 2 teaspoon Fish Sauce (have more on hand)
- 2 tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice (have more on hand)
- ½ pound Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- Using the back of a knife, gently pound lemongrass stalk, lime leaves, and thai chilis. You can also slice the Thai chilis for more spice. If using dried lime leaves, then add right into the soup pot.
- Place water in a medium pot and add Salt, Onion, Lemongrass, Lime Leaves, Cilantro Stems (you can tie it up to make it easier to remove when soup is done), Thai Chili's, and Tomatoes.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to make the broth.
- Then add Mushrooms, Fish Sauce, Lime juice, and Taste for seasoning. (add more seasoning if needed)
- Turn off the heat. Remove cilantro bunch, lime leaves, and lemongrass from pot
- Place shrimp into broth, be sure it's not boiling. Once Shrimp are pink the soup is ready to serve. Garnish with Cilantro leaves and extra chili oil. Have as a main course with rice, or as an appetizer with a main dish.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and depends on ingredients and amounts used. Thai Caliente makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.