Tom Yum: The Souper Intense Flavour


Tom Yum is probably one of the most well-known Thai recipes and considering its one of my favourite dish, I would like to share you the recipe here at Fork. Usually, a good stock guarantees the great taste of Tom Yum hence its highly recommended to use shrimp stock which you can make by boiling the shrimp heads with water or canned chicken stock if you’re out of prawns. The secret to the spiciness of the soup is the use of nam prik pao (Thai roasted chilli paste). Of course, the dish wouldn’t be completed without the aromatics: galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chilies, etc. To make Bangkok-style Tom Yum which is creamier and whiter in color, add a few tablespoons of evaporated milk to the soup. Once you have these ingredients, you will have the best bowl of homemade spicy tom yum you’ve ever tasted.

Rasa Malaysia

Tom Yum Goong
Serves 2
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes


2 1/2 cups shrimp stock (best), canned chicken stock, or water
10-12 shrimp or 8 oz (head-on and shell-on but chop the eyes part off, devein if you like)
3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
6 bird’s eyes chilies (pounded)
3 (big) slices galangal
6 kaffir lime leaves (bruised)
2 tablespoons nam prik pao (Thai roasted chili paste)
2 tablespoons oil of nam prik pao
3 teaspoons fish sauce
1 stalk lemongrass (cut into 3-inch strips, pounded with a cleaver)
6 canned straw mushrooms / fresh oyster mushrooms / fresh or canned button mushroom


Boil 3 cups of water in a pot. Add a big handful of shrimp/prawn heads and boil it until the water turns slightly orange in color. Using a spatula, press the shrimp heads to extract the “goodies” from their heads. Then reduce the stock to slightly more than 2 1/2 cups. Ensure to drain the shrimp stock and discard the shrimp heads.

Add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chilies, mushrooms, nam prik bao to the stock before boiling it. Add in the shrimp and fish sauce. Lastly, add the lime juice (if you add lime juice too early, the soup might turn bitter). Boil until the shrimps are cooked, dish out and serve hot.

Cook’s Note:

You can use also chicken, a combination of chicken plus shrimp, or seafood combination (shrimp, squid, scallops, green-lipped mussels) for tom yum soup. It’s really up to you, but the most popular tom yum is tom yum goong.