There are many different kinds of soups in Thailand. But I always come back for this hot and sour prawn soup called, “Tom Yum Goong“, as my favorite. Just thinking of this soup alone makes my mouth salivating.
Tom Yum Goong is perhaps the most well known dish of Thailand. With its sensationalizing flavor contrast and aroma, it surely awakes your taste bud on your tongue.
I learned how to make this appetizing soup from my Thai friend many years ago. Ever since then, it became my repertoire soup when I need an Asian comfort any time of the year.
I think Tom Yum Goong can be a great remedy for cold and flu.
It can clear out your sinus like a plumber opening up the old clogged kitchen sink pipe.
The degree of spiciness and the sourness can be achieved by your liking. Some add cow milk at the end to neutralize the spiciness. Some add coconut milk to make it creamy — then it sort of becomes a different soup called “Tom Khaa”. You can use chicken if you are not fond of prawns but you gotta allow prawns to be the highlight of this soup.
- A good soup starts with a good base; in this case, prawns!
- Remove the head and the shell from the prawn but leave the tail intact. Slit along the back of prawn and you will discover the vein. Take that gunk out.
- Save their heads and shells. DO NOT throw away! You need them from their head to toe to get the most flavorful soup.
- Smack one lemongrass with your manly fist or back of your knife.
- Saute the prawn heads and shells with the lemongrass in hot oil for 3 minutes.
- Add chicken stock and two slices of galangal. What is galangal? It looks like ginger but it is not the same. You can substitute with ginger if you can’t find it, but do your best to search your town for this. Makes all the difference.
- Drain the stock and reserve about 3 cups. Discard the rest.
- Smack these tiny Thai chili, aka the killer!
- Get your mushroom ready. Straw mushroom is the traditional choice, but oyster or wild enoki mushrooms will do fine. Slice the other lemongrass thinly.
- Now the kaffir lime leaves. Pull off the stem on the back of the leaf. It will cast the most aromatic smell right under your nose.
- Throw lemongrass, chilies, kaffir lime leaves in the stock and let it boil.
- Add shrimp. mushroom, tomato into the stock and let it simmer.
- Slice tomato into wedges and add to the soup.
- Season the soup with Thai fish sauce.
- Add the lime juice and taste. Adjust the amount of lime juice according to your taste.
- Lastly throw some cilantro (or coriander leaves depends on whom you talk to) at the end.
Serve Tom Yum Goong with a little bit of steamed jasmin rice or alone as an appetizer.
Tom Yum Goong (Authentic Thai Hot and Sour Prawn Soup)
- 7oz whole prawn or large shrimp
- 2 stalks lemongrass pale yellow part only
- 1 tbsp oil
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 4-7 Thai bird eye's chili smashed
- 2 pieces thinly sliced galangal
- 1 handful straw mushroom or oyster mushroom
- 2 shallots sliced
- 1 tomato cut into wedges
- 2-3 tsp Thai fish sauce
- 1-2 lime juiced
- 4 tbsp cilantro chopped
- Clean the shrimp by removing heads and shells but tails intact, reserve the heads and shells. Discard the vein. Set aside.
- Smack one of lemongrass with back of your knife to release its fragrance.
- To make the prawn stock; heat oil in a soup pot over medium high heat, add the reserved shrimp heads and shells, and one smashed lemongrass. Saute together for 3 minutes. Add chicken stock and galangal, let it boil first and then simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Strain the stock and discard the shrimp heads & shells, lemongrass, and galangal pieces.
- Slice the remaining lemongrass thinly. Remove the vein on the back of kaffir lime leaves.
- Pour the stock back to the pot over medium high heat, add the sliced lemongrass, chili, kaffir lime leaves, and shallot, and bring them to boil.
- Add shrimp, mushroom, and tomato, and continue to cook. Season with 2 teaspoon of fish sauce first. Remove the pot from heat and add the lime juice. Adjust the amount of fish sauce and lime juice according to your taste.