A comforting Tom Yum Goong recipe for a Thai hot and sour soup made with shrimp, vegetables, and glass noodles to make it into a heartier more filling soup that can be eaten as a meal as well.
Tom yum goong is a super flavorful hot and sour soup served with shrimp that originates from Thailand. It's loaded with lemongrass and lime-y flavors that has the perfect balance of salty and sour, with a very slight sweetness. It is very different than the popular Chinese hot and sour soups, mostly because tom yum soups have a lot more flavors from the aromatic spices that are used (lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, garlic, etc) If you love Chinese hot and sour soup, you should definitely give this one a try!
Tom yum goong was actually my first introduction to Thai food when I was 12. The flavors blew my socks off whenever my dad asked me what I wanted for dinner, I would always beg for this soup. Traditionally, tom yum soups are not served with glass noodles but my dad used to put it in anyways. To me, the noodles (and the sourness) really made this soup because it gave me something to eat with the soup, and the noodles would absorb all the flavors while having that satisfying chewy texture.
INGREDIENTS FOR TOM YUM GOONG
Soup Base Ingredients
- Broth - You can use any type of broth for this recipe (chicken, vegetable or seafood). Try to find a good quality low sodium one.
- Lemongrass - For this recipe, you will need fresh lemongrass stalks. You can use frozen lemongrass as well but they usually come pre-chopped very finely and are quite hard to strain out so I don't recommend it unless you absolutely have to, make sure to strain it out very well if you do use it. I don't recommend using lemongrass powder for this soup.
- Kaffir Lime Leaves - These leaves have a strong fresh citrus aromatic flavor and scent. You can usually find fresh ones at an Asian grocery store or online. I personally think it is very difficult to substitute so if you can't find it, then add an extra stalk of lemongrass instead.
- Galangal - Galangal has a fresh and pine-needle flavor and scent. If you cannot find it, omit it. Do not substitute it with ginger since it has a completely different flavor.
- Nam Prik Pao (Thai Chili Paste) - I found it very difficult to find Thai Chili Paste (Nam Prik Pao), especially if you don't know how to read Thai because most of the jars do not actually say 'Nam Prik Pao' and instead they all said Chili Paste or Chili Paste with Oil. When you are shopping for it at the Asian grocery store, look for something that says Chili Paste in Oil or Chili Paste and read the ingredients. You want to see tamarind in there and you want to see the word shrimp/fish sauce/anchovy, and you want to see the word chilies. It should be a dark brown color as well. Some might have oil, some might not.
SMASH YOUR LEMONGRASS TO RELEASE FLAVORS
Lemongrass is super flavorful but most of the flavors don't come out unless you break it up a bit to release its oils. This rule applies for most fresh herbs. So I like to usually rip my herbs before I use it but because lemongrass is a thick and tough monster, the best way to release it is to smash it! Once it has been smashed (you'll know you're done when you can smell it) you can then chop it up into smaller pieces to use.
HOW TO DEVEIN SHRIMP
In short, I personally do not think you have to devein shrimp but this is a personal preference and some do prefer to devein their shrimp before eating it.
To streamline this post so it's not ridiculously long, I have a guide on how to Devein Shrimp in Seconds using a toothpick! Head on over to that post if you want to read how I quickly devein my shrimp at home when I need to!
HOW TO PREVENT MUSHY NOODLES
Glass noodles are delicious in this soup but it is very easy to overcook them, which will then turn it into a goopy mushy noodle. To prevent this, I don't cook them at all, you just need to soak it. Before you start making the soup, soak the noodles in water for 10-15 minutes - I like to use room temperature lukewarm water. When you are ready to eat, put the soaked noodles into your bowl and ladle the hot soup in and let it sit in the hot soup for about 1 minute before you start eating. The trick to this is, the broth MUST be piping hot for it to work.
DISCARD THE AROMATICS - THEY ARE TOUGH TO CHEW
Before you serve the tom yum goong soup, fish out the kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and galangal. They are tough to chew and are not meant to be eaten - it's only used to flavor the broth.
TURN OFF THE HEAT BEFORE YOU SEASON THE TOM YUM GOONG SOUP
To make sure the soup is flavored exactly the way I want it, I add my salty, sweet and sour flavors at the very end when the heat is off. I find that if you keep the heat on while you put the lime juice in, it cooks away all the lime oils and makes it taste less limey.
This will vary with your preference, I like my soup slightly more on the spicy salty side, some people might like it a lot more sour - so I provided a guideline for the final flavoring but it is crucial to taste test at the end and adjust this to your liking.
LOOKING FOR MORE THAI RECIPES? TRY THESE!
- Khao Soi (Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup)
- Thai Basil Turkey Fried Rice
- Creamy Thai Red Curry
- Thai Peanut Sauce (From Scratch)
DID YOU MAKE THIS TOM YUM SOUP?
If you made this tom yum soup recipe, I want to see! Follow Pups with Chopsticks on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag and hashtag it with @pupswithchopsticks and #pupswithchopsticks. I love to know what you are making!
Tom Yum (Thai Hot and Sour Soup)
Tom Yum Soup Base
Tom Yum Soup Flavoring (Use These at the End)
Foods to Eat
- 6 whole shrimp
- 1-2 bundles glass noodles/bean threads (soaked in room temperature water)
- 1 handful mushrooms (cremini or white)
- 1 handful snow peas
Additional Ideas for Foods to Add (Pick and Choose)
- any type of green vegetable (choy, shredded lettuce, peppers etc)
- fresh tomato (cut into chunks and added at the end)
- fresh pineapple chunks (cooked during the shrimp cooking step)
- Thai basil (as a fragrant garnish)
- Soak the glass noodles in room temperature water for 10 minutes and then drain and set aside.
- (Optional) Devein the shrimp and set aside
- Cut the vegetables and mushroom into bite-sized pieces and set aside
Making the Tom Yum Soup
- Rip the kaffir lime leaves in half and place it in the soup pot
- Slice the onions and roughly chop the garlic and place it in the soup pot
- Remove the first layer of the lemongrass and cut them into large chunks. Use the back of your knife or something blunt like a rolling pin to smash it to release the oils. Place them in the pot
- If you are using chilies, cut the chilies in half and place them in the pot
- Slice the galangal and place it in the pot
- Add the broth and water into the pot and set the pot on medium-high heat until it starts to boil
- Once it starts to boil, adjust the heat to medium-low heat and put a lid on it. Simmer it for 30 minutes
Putting It Together
- Once 30 minutes is up, taste the broth. It shouldn't have any saltiness to it but it should have some lemongrass or lime leaves flavor. If it doesn't, cook it for another 15 minutes.
- Once you have finished cooking the broth, remove all the spices and aromatics. They are not meant to be eaten, only to flavor the soup.
- Turn the heat back up to medium
- Add in the chili paste and stir it until it dissolves.
- Once the chili paste has dissolved, put in the vegetables and mushrooms and cook them for 1 minute.
- Add in the shrimp and cook it for 1 minute. (Careful not to overcook it. Shrimp cooks very quickly, as long as it is fully thawed.)
- Turn off the heat
- Add in the fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Stir and taste. Adjust it to your liking. (Add more lime juice if you like it more sour etc)
- Place the glass noodles in a serving bowl and ladle the piping hot soup into the bowl to cover the noodles. The heat will cook it. Let it soak up the soup for a few minutes.
- Enjoy! 🙂
- When shopping locally for Nam Prik Pao, there might not be a lot of brands that have English on it and the majority of them will not say 'Nam Prik Pao' on the label in English. Look for jars that say 'Chili Paste' or 'Chilli Paste in Oil'. It should contain tamarind, shrimp/anchovy/fish sauce, and chilies in the ingredients list.
- Depending on what brand of chili paste you buy (Nam Prik Pao), they come with varying spiciness level. I bought one that was super spicy, and I added about 4 additional fresh chilies in the broth and it was CRAZY spicy. If you can't tolerate foods that are super spicy, make sure you do a taste test of the broth before you put in the chili paste - and only add the chili paste ½ a tablespoon at a time doing a taste test each time until you reach 1 ½ tablespoons of chili paste.
- If you are using frozen shrimp, make sure you thaw it completely before cooking it. It is very easy to overcook shrimp if it is still frozen.
- For this recipe, you will need fresh lemongrass stalks. You can use frozen lemongrass as well but they usually come pre-chopped and are quite hard to fish out or strain so I don't recommend it unless you absolutely have to, make sure to strain it out very well. I don't recommend using lemongrass powder for this soup.
- I personally think it is very difficult to substitute kaffir lime leaves so if you can't find it, then add an extra stalk of lemongrass instead.
- Galangal has a fresh and pine-needle flavor and scent and is hard to substitute. If you cannot find it, omit it. Do not substitute it with ginger since it has a completely different flavor.
- Extra fresh kaffir lime leaves and galangal can be stored in the freezer in a ziplock bag and can be kept for a few months
- I found the soup was very spicy from the chili paste alone and did not need to add more chilis. If you can handle and love spicier foods then add the additional birds-eye chilies - otherwise, you can omit this.
Disclaimer: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. While I appreciate the support - please try to buy your items locally if possible to support your local shops (chances are they are cheaper locally as well!) 🙂