Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot and Sour Prawn Soup)

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In Thailand, soup is an indispensible accompaniment to the meal. Interestingly, it is served as a part of the meal and not as a first course! If you are a fan of Thai Cuisine, then I’m sure Tom Yum Goong is among the top three in your list. This healthy and nourishing soup is probably the most popular Thai soup appreciated worldwide for its distinct hot-n-sour flavour. The moment you put the first spoonful of this fragrant soup into your mouth, you start feeling a de-stressing and rejuvenating effect arising out of the harmony of citrus flavours of kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. The ingredients in the soup have the ability to boost the immune system and have anti-cancer properties too!

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Canned straw mushrooms are used for making tom yum goong

Tom yum soups have different local names based on the ingredients used. The hot and sour soup with prawns is called tom yum goong (or tom yum kung). The tom yum soup with chicken is called tom yum kai. These tom yums can also be made with other seafood, but tom yum goong stands out as one of the gems of authentic Thai cuisine. Mushrooms, bok choy, cherry tomatoes or broccoli can be added to this soup, but are optional. Some people prefer using chopped Thai basil instead of chopped cilantro for garnishing. If you like to make it hotter, add the commercially available Thai chilli paste or Sriracha sauce to the soup, which will impart a reddish colour to the soup too!

How to choose the perfect lemongrass?
Lemongrass has a distinctive citrus aroma, having an intense lemon–ginger flavour, minus the sourness. Lemon rind or the commercial lemongrass powder (serai powder) can be a substitute, but nothing beats the real flavour of this wonder ingredient.

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Fresh lemongrass is now available across Asian supermarkets, grocery stores and wet markets worldwide: thanks to the growing popularity of Thai cuisine globally! The stems are sold in clusters, with each stem being roughly seven inches long. These should be firm and fragrant. Always make sure that you buy only the freshest and tightly held stalks with a lemon-green tinge. Choosing fresh lemongrass is very important because this ingredient decides on the flavour of this soup dish immensely (along with the kaffir lime leaves).

Lemongrass can be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator. This way, one can make these stalks keep fresh and aromatic for three weeks!

How to select perfect prawns?
I must say that I am lucky to live in a country where I get live prawns swimming around in big aquariums in my local wet market!

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Buy prawns which have firm and straight bodies. The shells should be intact (we need them in this soup). Even if using frozen prawns, prefer buying the ones with shells on. The colour of the prawns should be grey with a blue tinge. Never accept red, white or yellow prawns, please.

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Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot and Sour Prawn Soup)

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Tom Yum Goong (Thai Hot and Sour Prawn Soup)

  • Raw jumbo prawns: 2 pounds
  • Lemongrass stalks (roots trimmed): 3
  • Kaffir lime leaves (roughly torn): 10
  • Canned straw mushrooms (each cut into half): 8 ounce
  • Galangal (crushed): 1 tbsp
  • Fish sauce (nam pla): 3 tbsp
  • Lime juice: 4 tbsp
  • Spring onion greens (chopped finely): 2 tbsp
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves (or Thai basil): 1 tbsp
  • Fresh Thai red chillies (finely sliced): 4
  • Chicken stock or water: 6 cups
  • Salt: ½ tsp
  • Ground black pepper: ½ tsp
Method of preparation:

Shell the prawns and devein them. Wash and reserve the shells and the prawns separately.
Prepare the preliminary liquid by adding water or the chicken stock to the prawn shells and bringing it to a boil.
Partially crush the lemongrass stems and add them to the stock with galangal and half the lime leaves. Let this boil over a low flame (lid closed to retain the citrus aroma) for 10 min.

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Strain the stock, pour it again into the clean pan and reheat.

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The preliminary aromatic soup being strained

Add the drained mushrooms and the prawns, cooking until the prawns turn pink.

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Stir in the nam pla (fish sauce), lime juice, spring onion greens, coriander leaves, chillies and the remaining lime leaves. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

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The soup can be had just like that or you can have it with jasmine rice.

  • Biny Anoop

    wow u have there everythg i love…umm slurp…pass that bowl pls

  • Sobha Shyam

    The soup looks great, interesting recipe name n soup!!

    Ongoing Event at Good Food:

  • Annapet

    One of my favorite dishes, truly. I wish we can get fresh seafood here easily. One would think…We’re by the bay and by the ocean yet seafood is not easy to get.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • Mugdha

    yummy soup…slurp slurp..:)

  • Trish

    Wow, this soup sounds amazing. Great flavors? Would you be interested in featuring this recipe as a guest post on my blog? Email me at

  • Belinda @zomppa

    I’m a huge fan. Where can I get a bowl?

  • Mary

    I learned a great deal today. Your soup sounds wonderful. I hope you have a good evening. Blessings…Mary

  • Foodycat

    Stunning! I am actually making my favourite tom yum for dinner tomorrow – with oxtail. I braised my oxtail today so it is nice and sticky.

  • Foodness Gracious

    A favorite of mine. yours looks awesome and I can almost smell the fragrance!!

  • kankana

    This is my fav fav fav thai soup . or thai dish. I have been thinking for a long time now to make this soup. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Junia

    wow this looks amazing! i don’t know too much about lemongrass but i’ve been meaning to try it out. thanks for the tips on finding the perfect one!

  • Parsley Sage

    Great looking soup! We’ve got a restaurant in Cayman that does Tom Yum Goong but it doesn’t look half as good as yours!

  • yummychunklet

    I love the look of this soup. So delicious!

  • Amelia’s De-ssert

    Delicious tom Yum, I don’t mind to pinch some of the prawns, LOL


    delicious! so mouth-watering!

  • Tamara

    this is great! I have recently tried Thai green curry rice and instantly fell in love with Thai cuisine. This recipe sounds great. Only, here in Croatia we don’t have lemongrass, it’s nowhere to be found, not even on largest markets.

  • purabi naha

    Thanks, all, for your comments on Tom Yum Goong.

    Tamara, oh, doesn’t Croatia have an Asian market? Why don’t you check the dry spices section (for dry lemongrass powder) in your superstore. In some countries, lemongrass is also sold in the frozen veggies and herbs section of superstores. If not available, you can try substituting 1 tbsp lime zest. But I am afraid, it won’t taste that authentic.

    Amelia, you know something! The soup tastes much better than the prawns in them! So nice to hear from you!!

    Foodycat, oh, I have seen eople buying oxtail here in Hong Kong. That sounds a great idea to put oxtail into the soup. In that case it would be another Tom Yum dish! That’s really a great suggestion, Foodycat! Thanks.

    Belinda, I am always there to serve you happily!! Thanks for the appreciation.

    Annapet, that’s really surprising that you live so close to huge water bodies, but don’t get fresh seafood! Why is it so? Come over to Hong Kong!!

    Parsley Sage, really? Oh, so sweet of you to have said that!! I am flattered!

  • Kelly

    This looks incredibly delicious!! :)

  • janet@fromcupcakestocaviar

    This sounds so delicious Purabi and I love love love your presentation. The photo is beautiful. :-) Definitely buzzed this!

  • Ann

    Oh, MY! That is absolutely incredible! I’m allergic to prawns (and all seafood) but I just love them! The allergy is only 8 years old…..darn it! This soup is absolutely beautiful and it looks so delicious! Your photos and information – particularly about the lemon grass – is – WOW! I wish I could explain myself better…this one is stunning! Buzzed it with high hopes for the Top 9!

  • Lindsey@Lindselicious

    Those Prawns look amazing! Awesome job purabi I can taste the flavors jumping off your photos!

  • S.V.

    This is one of my favorite thai dishes. Looks fantastic!

  • Valarmathi Sanjeev

    Wow…..soup looks wonderful and absolutely delicious.

  • weirdcombos


    Tom yum is my absolute favorite Thai soup. I went to Thailand several years ago and took a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai. One of the dishes we learned to make was this one. Good times! I love the balance of sweet, spicy, salty and umami, flavors in this soup.
    Your blog rocks! Thanks for stopping by our blog recently!

  • My Home Diary in Turkey

    Sllrruuuuppp….congratulation to make me drooling all over this post… this is absolutely my fave meal! and you presented it so lovely..!

  • Cheap Ethnic Eatz

    Such an information packed post whit so many of my favorite flavors described. OK I can do without the full head attached though I have to admit, but besides that looks amazing.

  • Tina @flourtrader

    Pass me that soup please! This sounds fantastic and your photos are making me hungry. Good tips on choosing the best ingredients. Another great post!

  • Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog

    Stunning those prawns and the overall soup need urgently one for the cold day here ;)



  • Pacheco Patty

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a sweet comment;-)
    I enjoyed your blog, particularly your photos and how well you organized all your information, great job- you’ve made a very clear easy to follow recipe.
    I love Thai cuisine but generally treat myself to dinner at a good Thai restaurant but your soup looks like a wonderful recipe to try at home, thanks for sharing;-)

  • Nava.K

    How not to like this recipe of tom yam, we at home have this most of the time although the recipe varies in some way. Yummy and yep, great with rice.

  • Xinmei @ Pudding Pie Lane

    Thanks for your visit! I actually went to Malaysia last summer and discovered Tom Yam paste, but we never made it from scratch, just from a tin. This looks really yummy!

  • Aiman

    Yum! this sounds very lemony, pure thai style. very brave of you to make this. I might ruin it.

  • Carolyn

    Yum, I love Tom Yum soup. Great recipe! Buzzed.

  • Rebecca from Chow and Chatter

    wow what a fab soup :-) thanks for the kind comment on the blog wish u much happiness

  • Manja

    Fantastic! wow that looks very delicous. Now i am hungry T.T i have book the recipe, i will try it out^^ i like healthy food

  • Megan @ The Fresh Fridge

    This looks delicious! I have always loved hot and sour soup, but never tried it with prawns. I will have to make this one for sure!

  • Nami @ Just One Cookbook

    OMG! Tom Yum Goong is one of my favorite soop…maybe top 3?! This looks SOOOOO good and I’m so happy you shared this recipe. Obviously I tried making this once and…um…it was far from traditional Tom Yum Goong. This recipe is a keeper for me. Thank you for sharing this! So excited!

  • Cheah

    Wow, this looks gorgeous. How not to drool when I’m a fan of Thai food, especially this appetising soup!

  • Torviewtoronto

    flavourful soup looks wonderfully delicious lovely pictures

  • Zoe

    This soup has a very generous serve of ingredients! Delicious!

  • Dara

    Gorgeous recipe! Well done. Love Tom Yum soup!

  • cookingvarieties

    hi purabi, how are you doing, your tom yam looks delicious. i love tom yam very much, we are close neighbors with Thai, so there’s plenty around at food outlets, but again, the taste may not be so good.
    i prefer to fix it myself, but i buy the ready made paste as additional flavor.
    surprise you have have kaffir lime leaves too.
    have a wonderful day…o ya after you commented, there.s another new one soon after :)


    This is actually my number one favorite soup when I go out to Thai food. Unfortunately we live in a rather remote area, so going out to Thai food is a rare pleasure. Even better though to make my own! Thank you for the detailed recipe. I can’t wait to try it.

  • Tenina

    This soup looks amazing…I LOVE Thai food.

  • a girl’s diary

    Hi Purabi….I just bumped into your lovely blog….prawns have always been my weakness….and this delicious soup is making me crazy right now….happy to follow your space :)

  • Food, Fun and Life in the Charente

    Great post and recipe. I wish we had an Asian supermarket nearby to be able to buy the ingredients. We have one near the house in the UK but it not much help when I am in France! Diane

  • Kimberly (unrivaledkitch)

    those prawns are just beautiful. amazing soup cheers

  • Adrian (Food Rehab)

    This is a perfect winter warmer and totally loving it with all the seafood! Amazing.

  • sherri lynn

    This looks good! In China we had prawns all the time – I love them!

  • Indie.Tea

    It sounds delicious, spicy and hot and fresh…I love how you filled the broth with a lot of prawns, etc.

  • Manju soo very light and flavorful!

  • alana

    Looks amazing!

  • Faith

    What a beautiful and flavorful soup this is! I love all the different components and I think my hubby would adore it too!

  • Emily Malloy

    Absolutely beautiful!

  • Jennifer (Delicieux)

    Your Tom Yum looks gorgeous!! Also thanks for sharing your lemongrass storage tip. I never knew to store it in a paper bag.

  • Sandra

    I enjoyed reading about this dish Purabi! What a great flavor.just wonderful! I love your photos too! Thanks so much for sharing and have a wonderful week ahead!

  • Lilly

    I love this soup!! You made it just as the ones in the restaurant! Can’t wait to make myself a bowl…or a whole pot!

  • Manu

    Wow! This soup looks like it has come out of some 5 star Thai restaurant! You did a great job! Thanks on the tips on how to chose lemon grass… I love it but I only just started cooking with it, so your tips are going to be very helpful for me! :-)

  • Dzoli

    I have been to Thailand several times.I love the food,I eat tonns of fruit which is avaialble everywhere I love the smell of spices and I love smiles everywhere.I love your soep too;)

  • Tes

    I makes Tom Yum today, too :) but tom Yum noodle … Yours looks so good. Just like how my mom used to make :)

  • michelangelo in the kitchen

    Pn, this is my favorite soup! I am amazed at how you get all the right ingredients together to make an authentic Thai soup! Wonderful demo you have. Thanks for these tips to get the optimum flavor of the condiments! Just love it! Cheers!!!

  • SavithaRaj’s Spice Land

    Thanks for visiting my blog and sharing your lovely comments, the Tom Yum looks very delicious and am very impressed with your presentation, I am following you right away for more rocking recipes…

  • Mother Rimmy

    Beautiful soup. I can just taste the flavor of the prawns and mushrooms. Lovely!

  • Peggy

    This sounds like such a delicious soup! Great tips in this post too =)

  • Swathi

    Delicious soup I am fan of thai cuisine. thanks for visiting my blog. you have a wonderful space too.


    great soup..looks so warm and inviting and nurturing!

  • Christine’s Pantry

    The soup looks great!

  • Ushnish Ghosh

    Dear Purabi
    I had almost missed this post! Old age is catching on, it seems, ha ha. Awesome recipe!! I have with me fully dressed up tiger prawns and will try this one. Hope will get all the ingredients. Have a look at my blog ” Recent encounter with the tigress”, you will like it. I got used to eating prawns with out cleaning the head and de-veining during my long stay in KL, Vietnam and Korea. When I used to chew the head , they used to look at me, with more of disgust rather than curiosity. But here I have to clean to chew the head!! ( Chhele bela theke Parents der matha chibono-r training ta Prawn-er matha chibonor kaje lagchhe!!! Ha ha)
    I like your comment at my blog…yes this is a bangal recipe..for that matter , all dishes made out of wastes, have roots to Bangals. (I am a Bangal by birth but brought up in Orissa.). I can say, all the famous Bong cuisines have their roots to Calcutta and dhaka, a great fusion of recipes, thanks to the British and the elites of Calcutta. Anyway ..this is not the forum for debate on Bangal and Ghoti…which was there for fun..and doesn’t exist any more with younger generation. Try to read a book ” Calcuttea cook book” by Penguin…very nice book by Meenakshi.
    If we are coming to HK, I will invite myself to your place for a great dinner..ha ha .( chances are remote )
    Have a nice day

  • Carol @ There’s Always Thyme to Cook

    Looks fantastic. Such fresh and vibrant flavors!

  • Kitchen Belleicious

    Oh I love these flavors together and combining them in a soup sounds delicious

  • Mary @Delightful Bitefuls

    Lots going on in this recipe! Sounds delicious!!!

    New to your blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xo
    Delightful Bitefuls

  • purabi naha

    Thank you everyone who commented on this post. I am looking forward to learning a lot more from you all!

  • Dr.Sameena Prathap

    wow…yummy bowl of soup…:)so glad i found you!!:)


  • Daksha

    Hi! purbi, How r u ? now day I’m busy:(. This tom yum soup is looks incredibly delicious!! :) we like thai food but jaaaaaa:).

  • Elisabeth

    Purabi-Your incredible soup makes me want to try to make this…but I must confess, I will not even attempt to try to make it.

    I would just love to taste the authentic soup that you make, or maybe in our local Thai restaurant, which we have two really good ones in our area in S. Florida.
    Your step-by-step tutorial sure helps, but there’s no substitution for the way you made your amazing and yummy soup!

    I still want to pay forward your generous awards that you presented me with. I will do that ASAP, and thank you, again!
    Thanks for sharing:DDD

  • purabi naha

    Daksha, thank you for your comment. Great to see you back!

    Elisabeth, I am so glad that you loved the recipe so much. Why don’t you enquire in the Asian stores in Florida about the ingredients? The aroma of lemongrass and Kaffir lime leaves drives me crazy!
    Do try this dish in your Thai restaurant. But remember to ask them to add the chilli according to your tolerance level. It is actually a “hot” soup, but if you are making it at home, you can always alter the amount of chilli in it! Thanks for your comment, Elisabeth!

  • hemalata

    Yummy and delicious soup,simply superb.

  • carolinaheartstrings

    I love hot and sour soup and this one looks fantastic. Great pictures.

  • The Mistress of Spices

    I love tom yum! It (in vegetarian version) was one of my favorite things to eat during our trip to Thailand in December, and one that I really enjoy making. Thanks for your version and for reminding me to put it on the menu soon!

  • Maja

    Looks awesome! I never try it, but I need to:) I love your blog :)

  • Food Glorious Food!

    This is my favorite soup of all time!! Love your blog and following you for more great ideas! Would also like to invite you to follow my blog if you have the tome :)

  • katrina

    Wow, this the first time I see straw mushrooms added, normally use oyster-mushrooms. Thanks for introducing this.

    We get very fresh straw mushrooms around here.

    Love Tomyam…. and notice here, Thai restaurants serve three different varieties. One using the chilly paste, coconut milk and the third just plain. Is this because of cooking methods from different Thai provinces? Anyway love all types.

    I already linked your blog under ckata.

    Thanks for sharing


  • Catherine

    Wow!! This really sounds good! I know that my son would love it. Blessings, Catherine

  • Nippon Nin

    What an interesting dish and looks gorgeous!I have never heard about straw mushroom before though. I love to try this dish.
    Thank you for your kind comment on my blog.

  • purabi naha

    Thanks, everyone, for your motivating comments! All of you made me smile…

  • Viviane Bauquet Farre

    This dish is stunning to look at and I quite admire it’s informed heritage. Simply wonderful!

  • Lindsey@Lindselicious

    Wow those are crazy looking prawns! What a yummy looking dish Purabi!

  • Kate@Diethood

    What a delicious soup!!!

  • Brooks at Cakewalker

    Hi Purabi, I’m a fan of Thai cuisine, and I enjoy the way you write about the food with passion and intelligence. Thank you for sharing the recipe and keep up the delightful work!

  • Mike@ The Culinary Lens

    It took me a little getting used to in Thai restaurants not getting courses but once you get used to it you like it more.
    This soup looks so good, lemon grass and kafir leaves aroma gone wild LOL

  • Sarah Catherine

    This looks/sounds so good! If I could get all of those ingredients I would absolutely make this. I love thai food. I go to a little place and get mango curry and bubble smoothies, they always twist the straws into beautiful flowers.