Tom Yam Kung: Thai Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp (ต้มยำกุ้ง)
Recipe type: Soup, Main Dish, Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
  • 1½ cups unseasoned chicken or pork broth (as concentrated as you can make it)
  • 7-8 large shrimp, peeled with the head and tail sections left
  • 3-4 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces and lightly bruised
  • 4-5 slices of lemongrass, approximately ⅛-inch thick
  • 4-5 very thin slices of fresh galangal
  • ¾ cup canned straw mushrooms (or fresh white mushrooms), drained and halved (see notes below)
  • 1 tablespoon of Nam Prik Pao
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of fish sauce, or to taste (see notes in the post about the sodium level in the broth)
  • 4-5 small dried red chilies (I use arbol), broken up
  • ¼ cup lightly-packed cilantro leaves
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a very gentle boil over medium heat. Monitor the temperature so that the liquid is not boiling furiously but barely simmering. [We're infusing the broth with fresh herbs in the manner similar to making tea; we're not cooking the life out of them.]
  2. Add the lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves to the broth; continue to monitor the temperature.
  3. Add the mushrooms.
  4. Stir in Nam Prik Pao.
  5. Add the fish sauce, followed by the dried chilies.
  6. As the broth is gently simmering, lower the shrimp into it while monitoring the temperature somewhat closely (meaning you don’t need to whip out the thermometer but keep an eye on the broth to make sure it doesn’t drop too low that the shrimp won’t cook or surge too high that the shrimp is boiled to death).
  7. Give the shrimp a couple of stirs. Once the flesh has firmed up and turned opaque, remove the saucepan from heat.
  8. Season the soup off the heat with the lime juice. Taste. Add more fish sauce or lime juice as necessary.
  9. Stir in the cilantro leaves and serve the soup piping hot with rice (it is, after all, an entree).
In Asia, straw mushrooms are available fresh, inexpensive, and can be found anywhere. That is not the case in the US; hence the need for canned straw mushrooms. They’re not as good as fresh, of course, but they’re not bad at all. Feel free to use any white mushrooms you like. Oyster mushrooms would be good here as well. I just happen to love straw mushrooms so much that if I can’t get them fresh, I’ll take the canned version.
Recipe by SheSimmers at