Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp (Tom Yum Goong)

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Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp (Tom Yum Goong) | Real Food RN

This hot and sour soup recipe is from the book Thai Soup Secret, you can get your hands on more Thai soup recipes by picking up a copy HERE. Use coupon code realfoodrn20 for a 20% discount!

Thailand’s most famous soup, I consider this the king of all Thai soups. Popular throughout Thailand, it’s on every menu in every Thai restaurant outside of Thailand and rightfully so.

All the quintessential flavors of Thailand are present here, and though variations are widespread, there are three essential elements. The first is the fragrant triple gem of lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime infused in broth. The second is the heat of Thai bird’s eye chiles. And the third is seasoning it all to taste with the sour and salty flavors of lime juice and fish sauce.

After that, you’ll see tons of differences. Shrimp is the most common protein, though chicken and other types of seafood can be used too. Some versions use sugar to give it a little added sweetness. Some use different vegetables. Many versions add coconut milk or regular milk to give it a creamy consistency. Many also use a canned tom yum paste that’s simply dissolved in the broth, though I would encourage you not to take this shortcut as this just can’t compare to fresh ingredients! Also, most commercial pastes use MSG, soybean oil, and other chemical flavorings.

Regarding your personal love or hate of heat and spice, you can use as much or as little chiles as you want. Many hot and sour soup recipes call for using a lot more than what I’ve included here, though I’ve found even just three bird’s eye chiles adds a good punch of heat. Start with one chile, taste, and add more if needed. Or leave them out entirely if you want. It won’t exactly be traditional without chiles but who the heck cares. Ask a 100 native Thais what’s the most traditional version of tom yum and you’ll get 100 different answers. All that matters is what you like. Even without chiles, it will still have plenty of flavor.

Another great thing about tom yum soup is its simplicity. From start to finish you can easily have this ready in about 20 minutes.

Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp (Tom Yum Goong)

Serves 3-4


  • 1-quart fish broth, shrimp broth, chicken broth or water
  • 15-20 large shrimp, cleaned and peeled or left whole
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh galangal, cut into ⅛ – ¼ inch slices
  • 8-10 kaffir lime leaves, ripped in half
  • 1-3 small Thai bird’s eye chiles, sliced into small rings
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms of your choice (oyster, shiitake, straw, etc), coarsely chopped
  • ¼ – ½ cup lime juice, or more, to taste
  • ¼ – ½ cup fish sauce, or more, to taste — where to find
  • Cooked jasmine rice, for serving on the side (optional)

Seasonings, to taste:

  • Fish sauce
  • Coconut sugar
  • Green onions, finely chopped
  • Cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • Lime wedges


  • Bring the broth to a gentle boil and add the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and simmer about 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Add the bird’s eye chiles, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms and simmer for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add ¼ cup fish sauce and ¼ cup of the lime juice, stir well and taste. If additional salty or sour flavor is desired, slowly add more of each, to taste.
  • Add the shrimp and simmer for 2 -3 more minutes, until the shrimp turn pink and are cooked through.
  • Ladle the soup into individual bowls and add any combination of the seasonings, to suit your own tastes.
  • For a more hearty meal, serve with jasmine rice on the side, optional.

This hot and sour soup recipe is from the book “Thai Soup Secret” by Craig Fear. I highly recommend picking up a copy to get all of the amazing Thai soup recipes! Craig was generous enough to offer a coupon code too, use realfoodrn20 for a 20% discount! Grab a copy HERE

CLICK HERE to Pin this recipe

Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp (Tom Yum Goong) | Real Food RN

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Registered Nurse. Mom. Real Foodie.

Welcome to Real Food RN! A blog with the mission to empower you to live your healthiest life possible, starting today.



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