Tom Yum Goong is a popular Thai soup that is known for its spicy and sour flavors. It is traditionally made with shrimp, but can also be made with chicken, fish, or mixed seafood. The soup is made with a broth of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, and Thai chilies, which gives it a fragrant aroma and a spicy kick. The soup is then flavored with fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar to balance the sourness, saltiness, and sweetness.
Tom Yum Goong originated in Central Thailand and is believed to have been created in the early 19th century. It was originally a simple soup made by boiling water with herbs and spices, and then adding fish or shrimp. The dish was originally called “tom yam,” which means “boiling and spiced” in Thai. Over time, the dish evolved and became more complex with the addition of ingredients such as coconut milk, mushrooms, and different types of seafood.
Today, Tom Yum Goong is a popular dish in Thai cuisine and is enjoyed around the world. It is often served as a starter or as a main course, and is a favorite among those who love bold and spicy flavors. The dish has become so popular that it has been adapted and modified to suit different palates and preferences. Despite its variations, the essence of the soup remains the same – a spicy and sour broth that is both comforting and satisfying.
What is the difference between Tom Yum and Tom Yum Goong?
Add the word “goong” which means “prawns” to tom yum and you get tom yum goong or sweet, sour and spicy soup with prawns. Et voilà! You’ve just mastered your first three Thai words!
Why is Tom Yum healthy?
Tom yum is a very healthy soup given that its flavor predominantly comes from herbs, which are very low in calories, and steeped with seafood, which is a great source of lean protein.
Let’s make Tom Yum Goong!
- Large pot or Dutch oven You'll need a pot that is large enough to hold all of the ingredients and the broth.
- Knife and cutting board You'll need a sharp knife and a cutting board to prepare the lemongrass, galangal, Thai chilies, mushrooms, and cilantro.
- Spoon and ladle You'll need a spoon to stir the soup and a ladle to serve it.
- Measuring cups and spoons You'll need measuring cups and spoons to measure out the broth, lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar.
- Mortar and pestle (optional) If you have a mortar and pestle, you can use it to crush the lemongrass and galangal to release their flavor.
- Strainer (optional) If you prefer a clear soup without any herb bits, you can use a strainer to remove the lemongrass, galangal and other aromatics.
- Bowl You can use a bowl to marinate the shrimp with some lime juice before cooking if desired.
- 1 pound Shrimp peeled and de-veined
- 4 cups Chicken or vegetable broth
- 13.5 oz Coconut Milk 1 can
- 2 stalks lemongrass smashed
- 4 kaffir lime leaves torn
- 4-6 Thai chilies chopped (adjust to taste)
- 1 1-inch piece of galangal sliced
- 1 cup straw mushrooms sliced in half
- 1/4 cup Thai chili paste
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tbsp palm sugar (or regular sugar)
- In a large pot, bring 4 cups of broth to a boil.
- Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, Thai chilies, and galangal to the pot. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes to release the flavors.
- Add the shrimp and mushrooms to the pot, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink and is fully cooked.
- Add the Thai chili paste, fish sauce, lime juice, and sugar to the pot. Stir to combine.
- Pour in the coconut milk and stir until everything is combined.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if needed by adding more fish sauce, lime juice or sugar to balance the sourness, saltiness and sweetness to your taste.
- Remove the pot from heat and garnish with cilantro leaves.
- Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.
- Lemongrass: A fragrant herb with long, thin leaves and a citrusy flavor. It is commonly used in Thai cuisine to add a fresh and tangy flavor to dishes.
- Galangal: A root vegetable that is similar in appearance to ginger, but has a more earthy and peppery flavor. It is often used in Thai and Indonesian cuisine to add a spicy and pungent flavor to dishes.
- Kaffir lime leaves: A fragrant leaf with a distinct citrus flavor. It is often used in Thai and Southeast Asian cuisine to add a bright, fresh flavor to soups and curries.
- Thai chilies: A small, spicy chili pepper that is commonly used in Thai cuisine to add heat and flavor to dishes.
- Fish sauce: A salty and pungent condiment made from fermented fish. It is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine to add umami flavor to dishes.
- Coconut milk: A creamy, sweet liquid made from the flesh of coconuts. It is commonly used in Thai cuisine to add richness and flavor to soups and curries.
- Shrimp: A type of seafood that is commonly used in Thai cuisine. It has a sweet and delicate flavor and can be found in different sizes and varieties.
- Thai chilli paste: Known as nam prik pao in Thai, this is a sweet-savoury thick paste
- Lime juice: The juice extracted from fresh limes. It is commonly used in Thai cuisine to add acidity and freshness to dishes.
- Sugar: A sweetener that is commonly used in Thai cuisine to balance out the sour and spicy flavors in dishes.
- Cilantro: Also known as coriander leaves, it is a fragrant herb with a bright, citrusy flavor. It is commonly used in Thai cuisine as a garnish and to add flavor to dishes.
Q: Can I use other types of seafood instead of shrimp?
A: Yes, you can use other types of seafood like scallops, squid, or fish. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure that the seafood is cooked through.
Q: Can I make this soup vegetarian or vegan?
A: Yes, you can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and omit the shrimp. You can also use tofu as a substitute for the shrimp to add some protein to the soup.
Q: Can I make this soup in advance?
A: While it’s best to enjoy Tom Yum Goong immediately after cooking, you can make the soup in advance and reheat it when ready to serve. Just keep in mind that the flavors may become more intense as the soup sits, especially if you leave the aromatics like lemongrass and galangal in the soup.
Q: Is Tom Yum Goong spicy?
A: Yes, Tom Yum Goong is a spicy soup, but the level of spiciness can be adjusted based on personal preference. The amount of Thai chilies used can be reduced to make the soup less spicy, or you can leave them out altogether if you prefer.
Q: Can I freeze Tom Yum Goong?
A: While it’s possible to freeze Tom Yum Goong, it’s best to enjoy the soup fresh for the best flavor and texture. If you do choose to freeze the soup, keep in mind that the coconut milk may separate and the soup may become thinner when thawed and reheated.
Q: What can I serve with Tom Yum Goong?
A: Tom Yum Goong is a flavorful and filling soup on its own, but it can also be served with steamed rice or noodles for a more substantial meal. You can also serve the soup with a side of fresh vegetables like cucumber or bell peppers to balance out the spicy flavors.
- Use fresh ingredients: Fresh ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and Thai chilies will give your soup the best flavor. If you can’t find these ingredients fresh, you can use frozen or dried versions, but they won’t be as flavorful.
- Don’t overcook the shrimp: Shrimp cook quickly, so be careful not to overcook them or they’ll become tough and rubbery. Cook the shrimp just until they turn pink and start to curl, then remove them from the soup.
- Adjust the spiciness: Tom Yum Goong is a spicy soup, but you can adjust the spiciness to your liking by adding more or less Thai chilies. If you’re not sure how spicy you want the soup to be, start with a smaller amount of chilies and add more as needed.
- Use good quality broth and coconut milk: The broth and coconut milk are the base of the soup, so using high-quality versions will result in a more flavorful soup. If you have the time, consider making your own chicken broth or coconut milk from scratch.
- Let the soup simmer: To allow the flavors to develop, let the soup simmer for a few minutes before adding the shrimp and other ingredients. This will help the aromatics like lemongrass and galangal infuse the broth with their flavors.
- Adjust the seasoning: Once the soup is finished, taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may need to add more lime juice or fish sauce to balance out the flavors.
- Garnish with fresh herbs: Garnishing the soup with fresh cilantro and chopped scallions will add a pop of color and freshness to the dish.
- Overall, Tom Yum Goong is a forgiving recipe that can be customized to your liking. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the ingredients and adjust the recipe to suit your taste preferences.