Tom Yum Recipe (Tom Yum Goong)
February 24th, 2009 39 Comments

Tom Yum Recipe (Tom Yum Goong)

Tom Yum Goong
Tom Yum Goong pictures (1 of 3)

Born and raised in Penang, I am all about sun and warmth. I absolutely dread cold weather and the mere presence of sun lights me up like a glowing stick. I am inherently happier and more cheerful when the sun is out.

This month has been mostly cold and wet—lots of rain, cloudy, and yucky. I feel moody when the sky is grey. On chilly and gloomy days, I usually make myself Tom Yum soup to lift my spirit. Nothing feels better than downing a bowl of piping hot, spicy, sour, and highly addictive Tom Yum soup.

Tom Yum Prawn (Tom Yum Goong)

Tom Yum is probably one of the most well-know Thai recipes. It’s uniquely Thai and has become so famous that they made a movie with the name “Tom Yum Goong.” I kid you not.

Over the years, I have perfected my version of Tom Yum recipe. I can whip it up in less than 30 minutes. The best Tom Yum recipe calls for shrimp/prawn stock, which you can make by boiling prawn/shrimp heads with water, a trick I learned from my friend Chez Pim. A good stock guarantees the great taste of Tom Yum, much like dashi to Japanese cuisine. However, you can also make it with water or canned chicken stock. Another secret is the use of nam prik pao (Thai roasted chili paste). Of course, you can’t do without the aromatics: galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chilies, etc. Once you have these ingredients, you will have the best bowl of homemade tom yum you’ve ever tasted, I promise.

To make Bangkok-style Tom Yum which is creamier and whiter in color, add a few tablespoons of evaporated milk to the soup, a trick I learned from She Simmers.

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39 comments... read them below or add one

  1. Emily says:

    This looks great, I love making soup in the winter.
    Two questions though… Is this enough for one person? Also, I’d be nervous about saving shrimp heads. How do you store them and for how long?

  2. Craftpassion says:

    Wow, what a delicious-mouth-watering Tom Yam!!! After seeing your picture, my stomach is drumming at this time of hour – MIDNIGHT!!!! Lucky me that I can just go out to a road side store to order one, and not have to cook!!!

  3. tigerfish says:

    Your Tom Yum soup full of udang! And the soup base looks very thick – must be darn good!

  4. Sapuche says:

    Your Tom Yum Goong looks great. So many goong in that bowl! I really appreciate having this recipe, and also the advice to save prawn heads. I agree that good food brightens any gloomy day, and this recipe definitely looks like it would do the trick. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. Emily says:

    This looks great, I love making soup in the winter.
    Two questions though… Is this enough for one person? Also, I’d be nervous about saving shrimp heads. How do you store them and for how long?

  6. Matt Wright says:

    Fabulous stuff – what a great, great looking bowl of food.

  7. Elaine says:

    That looks extremely good. Your tom yum broth looks so lemak! If i could only reach…through…the…screen…..


  8. CCC says:

    You truly have an eye for photography! Your dishes “jump” out at us through the blog!

    Sorry to put a damper though … I would suggest that you put one of those “transparent-nish” watermark right across your photos. Identifying Rasa Malaysia at the bottom of the photo would still allow for copyright thefts since that portion can be easily cropped off.
    You may also want to check out photo-sites like Flickr. They are able to have photos uploaded in their site, yet viewers are unable to copy the photos.

  9. This soup looks so wonderful! It is a favorite of mine whenever I’m at a Thai restaurant. I’ll have to try my hand at making some for myself. I even have a bag of shrimp shells in my freezer!

  10. Lulu Barbarian says:

    I’m so glad to finally learn how to make this soup! Now I won’t have to always get it from a restaurant.

  11. I see you’ve added a copyright to your pics! Good! I have to agree with CCC though- the watermark needs to be typed across part of your food photo or it can still be stolen (I know… it takes away from the beauty of the photo, but it’s sometimes necessary to protect). Lovely dish!

  12. Bex says:

    Oooo how about one on Laksa Johor, if you haven’t posted a recipe already….

  13. Zlamushka says:

    Adore Tom Yam Goong. I have been reading thorugh your open letters to the Blog Pic Stealers and it is horrible that this is happening. I am sorry to hear that your adorable pictures are being kidnapped and victimised :-(

  14. I actually was just looking in my freezer the other night and was trying to figure out what on earth to do with my shrimp stock…what serendipity!

  15. Lingzie says:

    Looks like a great recipe! i’ve never attempted to make tom yum on my own… need to go look for nam prik pao in penang! :)

  16. Great tomyam… the prawns are big and delicious!

  17. Clandestine Diner says:

    Mmm! Pair it with a bottle of Belgian Tripel and I am so there. It would bring out all the magical elements that the kaffir lime leaves and lemon grass bring to the soup.

  18. ChichaJo says:

    You rock for making tom yum from scratch! :) I love this…especially when it is spicy enough to make me sniffle! I’ll start saving shrimp heads now…

  19. TikiPundit says:

    Looks great, as with all photography you do.

    Hmmm, reminds me… you should watermark your photos across the center, so thieving “chefs” can’t thieve your good work and effort! :)

    Uddawise, next t’ing ya know, dis gonna be some kind Chef Al original!!

  20. Sue Me says:

    You might want to watermark your picture a lil higher than that. Chef Rosas might crop away the watermark and eventually steal pics again.

    Btw, awesome tomyum recipe thanks :)

  21. NYMY says:

    Is it me, or I just find tom yum better outside of Thailand? Tom yam in Malaysia and tom yum in U.S. are just yummier. Why is that? I’ve been to Bangkok several times, and each time, I will ask local Thais where to get a good bowl of tom yum gai. Each time, I must say I am disappointed :(

  22. Yum! Yum!I can feel the sourness & spiciness.

  23. MyF says:

    Oh noooo… Tom Yum is my favourite! This looks extremely delicious… gimme some!

  24. F+E says:

    Me and my luv very luv tom yam…

  25. vivi says:


    How can i make the shrimp stock? coudnt seem to find in your post.

    Can you reply to my email add. Many thanks .


  26. I have only cooked the white soup base Tom Yum Goong before. But I have received a small jar of chili paste from my Thai counterpart and I shall put it to good use with this recipe! Thanks!

  27. Forager says:

    Thanks for recipe! I love tom yum so I’ll have to start saving prawn heads for this recipe… :)

  28. Mr Stone says:

    hi ,
    i have been trying to find out how many people your recipe serves?
    please help asap , we are making this for 4 people for dinner in a few hours !!!
    kind thanks

  29. simplythai says:

    This is really delicious soup!!! actually the problem is no to cook it, but to collect all these ingredients! I used to buy ingredients in Thailand when I go there for vacation. But now I’ve run out of my stock, and order all the ingredients online through thai tom yum shop! I use this one: Tom Yum recipe .com, but you can google your own favorite tom yum shop))
    and where do you get ingredients?

  30. Lynn says:

    Is there any other brand you’d recommend?Your Tom Yum Goong looks yummy.

  31. Tom Yum is one of my favorite Thai dishes, I think it highlights the culture perfectly and provides the perfect blend of spice and flavor; what Thai cooking is all about! I love the recipe you’ve used here; Tom Yum is delicious with chicken or shrimp/prawns; gotta leave those heads on though!

  32. Zeenath Rahim says:

    Bee yours is the one news letter I look for every time I open my mail. Fabulous recipes, excellent photography & write ups that always make a good read.

    As the imported ready made Thai pastes available in my country are all of indifferent quality, I am sure your fans would appreciate recipes for Thai Chilli pastes (nam prik pao) & other Thai curry pastes that we can make from scratch. I am sure flavour & quality will be far superior to ready made ones. Thanks

  33. Alun k says:

    Made everything according to the recipe, soup itself is ok untill u start eating it with steamed rice, something is missing, the flavout is not as rich as in restaurant’s soup:( dissapointed:(

  34. Pingback:First Serious Trial: Tom Yum Seafood | My Official Site

  35. Claud Yeiser says:

    I am looking to make this and have a question:

    Would fresh ginger be a suitable substitute for Galangal? I don’t recall seeing it anywhere locally.

    Thank you for any updates/replies.


  36. I am so glad I found this recipe for Tom Yum soup! Much like you, I am not a fan of the cold weather, and I love a bowl of hot Tom Yum soup to warm me up. I have not attempted making it before, mostly because we have a great little Thai restaurant nearby.
    Will soon be making it.

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