Thai Sour and Spicy Shrimp Soup (Tom Yum Goong)


My friend Melvin is great at cooking Asian dishes, and recently he made tom yum goong for us. This is a sour (from lime) and spicy (from chillis) Thai soup with shrimp. We liked it a lot, so I wanted to try making it, too. You can decide on how spicy you’d like it by adjusting the number of chilli peppers. Using the shrimp heads and shells gives the stock a great shrimp flavor. I opted to serve it with only the pieces you are going to eat, and remove the stock ingredients before serving. Here is my version.



For 2 servings

500 grams (1.1 lbs) shrimp with heads and shells

150 grams (.33 lb) oyster mushrooms

lime juice, to taste (I used the juice of 3 limes)

fish sauce, to taste (I used 2 Tbsp)

1 tsp sugar

3 scallions

1-5 Thai chilli peppers (rawit), sliced

5 kaffir lime leaves, chopped

2.5 cm (1 inch) of galangal, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 lemon grass, sliced

2 small or 1 large tomatoes

coriander, for garnish



Slice the galangal, lemon grass, garlic, lime leaves, chillis, and green part of the scallions (reserve the white part).


Remove the stems from the mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms themselves into bite size pieces if they are large, and reserve.


Put the aromatics and the mushroom stems in a pot with 1 litre (4 cups) of water, and bring to a boil.


In the meantime, peel and devein the shrimp and add the shrimp heads and shells to the stock.


Simmer for stock for half an hour.


Pour the stock and all the solids into a conical sieve, and push on the solids to get as much liquid and flavor out as possible.


Sieve the stock.


Season the stock to taste with fish sauce; I used 2 tablespoons.


Cut the white part of the scallions into 2.5 cm (1 inch) lengths on the diagonal. Bring the stock to a boil and add the white part of the scallions.


Add the reserved mushrooms.


Simmer until the scallions and mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.


Cut the tomatoes into pieces and add them.


Turn off the heat, then add the shrimp.


Add lime juice to taste. I used the juice of 3 limes.

Allow the shrimp to steep in the hot soup until just cooked through, about 3 minutes.


Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with cilantro.

Wine pairing

This is great with a dry riesling, which can handle both the acidity of the limes and the spiciness of the chillis.



Thai vegetable coconut fritters (Gra Bong Tod) are street food that is original, easy to prepare and very tasty.

10 thoughts on “Thai Sour and Spicy Shrimp Soup (Tom Yum Goong)

  1. One of the classic soups of SE Asia this very elegant offering is also v popular in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore . . and, need I mention it, in Australia. Your version does not miss a beat 🙂 ! Love wine as you know but usually wait until next course before lifting my glass purist that I am !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *biggest smile* Normally no wine with this kind of Asian soup!! Actually I rarely drink wine with most ‘thin’ soups – the British rule naturally is to have sherry with soup – I do drink v dry sherry with pleasure but usually omit it here . . .just being individualistic !!!


  3. Sounds like a truly authentic recipe, Stefan. Then again, I doubt yo’d serve a soup that wasn’t. 🙂 Maybe I’m finally learning but i both know all of the ingredients and more importantly, know where to purchase them. Even so, I think the only shopping I’ll be doing will be on menus for now. Once I’ve had a taste, I’ll know what my dish is supposed to taste like. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, many Thai restaurants outside of Thailand do not make everything from scratch. I’ve found that the Thai food I make at home has more flavor (especially in terms of complexity) than at restaurants. Often it is simply very spicy hot and not much else.


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