The Best Thai Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup) Recipe

Who doesn’t know Tom Yum? It is probably one of the most well-known Thai dishes. We can say that Tom Yum is the national aroma of Thailand.

A bold, refreshing blend of fragrant lemongrass, chili, galangal, lime leaves, lime juice and fish sauce shapes this classic soup, giving it its legendary herbal kick. The flavor is a unique combination of spicy hot and sour and makes for an ideal start to a meal, or a worthy main dish when paired with rice.

The most lauded Tom Yum is the shrimp version -- Tom Yum Goong (goong means prawn). Want to have a taste of it? Here we give you the best Thai Tom Yam Goong recipe so you can make it on your own:
  • 3 cups water
  • A big handful of shrimp/ prawn heads
  • 10-12 shrimps (8 oz), head-on and shell-on but chop the eyes part off
  • 6 canned straw mushrooms/ fresh oyster mushrooms/ fresh or canned button mushrooms
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-inch strips, pounded with a cleaver
  • 3 (big) slices galangal
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
  • 6 bird’s eyes chilies, pounded
  • 2 tablespoons nam prik pao (Thai chili paste)
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons lime juice


  1. In a pot, bring 3 cups of water to boil. Then add a big handful of shrimp/ prawn heads. Boil the shrimp heads until the water turns slightly orange in color. Press the shrimp heads with spatula to extract the juice from their heads. Let the stock reduce to slightly more than 2 1/2 cups. Drain the shrimp stock and discard the shrimp heads.
  2. Add lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chilies, mushrooms, and nam prik pao to the shrimp stock and bring it to boil. Add in the shrimp and fish sauce. Lastly, add the lime juice (don’t add it too early as it might make the soup bitter). Boil until the shrimps are cooked and serve hot.

You can also use chicken, a combination of chicken and shrimp, or seafood combination (shrimp, squid, scallops, green-lipped mussels) for Tom Yum soup.


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