Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tom Yam Gung ต้มยำกุ้ง Hot And Sour Prawn Soup

Day 13 of our carbless diet - I bought some beautiful prawns from the market for $10/kg (great bargains to be found on the weekends after 3pm just before the stall holders are closing for the day) and decided we might have a Thai soup for a change. Tom yam gung has to be the most well known Thai dish around and it is also one of the easiest dishes to prepare. As it is true with many simple dishes, tom yam also suffers the fate of being bastardised in so many ways. Lime juice is a must and lemon juice is a poor substitute; carrot, capsicum and zuchinni certainly have no place in a bowl of good tom yam. Use the freshest ingredients, keep it simple and you will be serving the tastiest tom yam every time. Some cooks add a little nam prik pao (roasted chili paste) at the end, I personally think that overtakes the beautiful subtle flavours of the aromatics.

serves 4 as part of a Thai meal 
you'll need;
1 kg of whole prawns
4 lemongrass, cut into 5 cm lengths, bruised
5 kaffir lime leaves, torn
5 to 10 bird chillies (depending on your preference), bruised
8 cups of water
1/2 tbs of salt
2 tbs of fish sauce
2 limes
a bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
extra fish sauce to taste

Peel and devein the prawns, reserving the heads and shells.

Simmer prawn heads and shells with salted water for 15 minutes. Strain and set aside until needed.

Bruise lemon grass and chillies in a mortar and pestle.

All the ingredients for a truly good tom yam soup. 

I also added some button and oyster mushrooms to the soup to make it a little more substantial. 

Bring prawn broth back to the boil and season with fish sauce. Add lemongrass, chillies and kaffir lime leaves and simmer for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms followed by prawns and cook until the prawns are just done.

Place some coriander leaves, some extra fish sauce and lime juice from half a lime in a bowl and ladle the soup over. Check for seasonings, it should taste hot, sour and aromatic.

Top with extra coriander leaves and serve. Add more fish sauce and lime juice to suit your taste.


  1. I agree infinite times with Sonia! I just cant stop salivating!!! Yummmyyyy!!!

  2. Wow you have outdone yourself again! What a wonderful bowl of tom yam!

  3. And of course you can always carb it up with some noodles! I think some mai fen or fen si would go down a storm with this soup!

  4. Loving your fabulous recipes and presentations!
    My mouth's watering.

    Have a great day my far away sweet friend!

    Big big hugs!!

    B XX

  5. Yeah Thai food is back! This certainly looks and sounds better than any tom yam I have tried, well done!

  6. You don't even miss the carbs. Looks very satisfying.

  7. Hmmm...just right when it's -10*C outside!!

  8. I am craving for some now! Looks so good with the prawns!

  9. I want a large bowl of Tomyamgung! Perfect for the snowy weather we are having here.

  10. Perfect and timely recipe to keep everyone warm..loved the addition of lime that aroma..

  11. Looks like a winner to me .......

  12. I want some too ") I prefer your version without the chili paste!

  13. saya sangat suke tomyam... sedapnyerrrrr.....

  14. Great looking tom yam buddy! I can imagine how delicious it is with all the beautiful herbs added to the soup.

  15. this is my favourite soup, I will never have enough of it, yum!

  16. i always cannot resist a bowl of this soup if i see one..yours look really good..noticed that you dont even hv to use tom yam paste ..i'm sure with all the ingredients used, it had already bring out the flavour in them

  17. Yumm!! This is always my favourite!!


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