Tom Yum Goong

Tom Yum Goong - Thai Spicy and Sour soup with shrimp

One of the most popular dishes in Thai Restaurants here in the US and in Thailand is a spicy and sour soup known as Tom Yum or Tom Yam. The Goong part means shrimp, and this is the most common protein used. You could also do chicken, or even a mixture of seafood. While the soup does not take long to make, it does require some hard to find herbs, but I was able to find them at the Asian grocery store.

Tom Yum Goong - Thai Spicy and Sour soup with shrimp

I’m actually kind of embarrassed that it took me so long to post this popular soup.  I’ve made Tom Yum Goong quite a few times, but either it’s been too dark to take pics, or my family is so hungry that I need to serve it right away. But this time I was able to photograph it!  If you prefer the coconut milk version, here is the recipe for Tom Kha.

With cold and flu season in full force, this soup will warm your belly and clear your sinuses. I know I’ve said it before, but food truly is medicine, and fresh herbs can do wonders when you’re feeling sick. My kids eat Tom Yum, but just without the chili peppers in it. I take some soup out and then add the spice for my husband and I.

Tom Yum Goong - Thai Spicy and Sour soup with shrimp

Here are my notes on how to make Tom Yum Goong at home. The ingredient list will look intimidating if you’re not familiar with Asian cooking, but if you have an Asian grocery store in your city, you should be able to find everything there. You’ll also notice that my broth is more translucent instead of red, like most restaurants serve it. The red oily hue comes from a  Roasted Chili Paste. You can add this but I prefer to just use fresh bird’s eye chilis. In order to prevent the shrimp from turning rubbery, add it into the soup once the broth is done, and at a gentle simmer, then serve immediately. If you want to save some Tom Yum for later, then just add the shrimp when your re-heat it the next time.

Enjoy this flavorful soup at home today!

Tom Yum Goong

Yield: 4 Servings


  • 4 Cups Water
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion, Sliced
  • 1 Stalk Lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces and pound with the back of a knife.
  • 1 inch piece of Galanga Root, sliced into 3 pieces
  • 6 Karffir Lime Leaves, rolled up together and bruised with back of a knife
  • Handful of Cilantro, stems included, and 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. Make sure you wash your hands well after touching the peppers.
  • 1 Roma Tomato, cut into chunks
  • 4 oz Fresh White Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice, have more on hand
  • 1/2 pound Fresh Shrimp


  1. Place water in a medium pot and add Salt, Onion, Lemongrass, Galanga, Lime Leaves, Cilantro Stems (you can tie it up to make it easier to remove when soup is done), Chili's, and Tomatoes.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes to make the broth.
  3. Then add Mushrooms, Fish Sauce, Lime juice, and Taste for seasoning.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low and remove Cilantro stems and Galanga pieces.
  5. Place shrimp into broth, be sure it's not boiling. Stir gently for a minute and turn off the stove. Once Shrimp are pink the soup is ready to serve. Garnish with Cilantro leaves. Have as a main course with rice, or as an appetizer with a main dish.

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