Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)

There are endless variations of how Tom Yum Goong is made in Thailand. This one is how my Aunt taught me. The soup is, of course, finished with her famous Nam-prik Pao.


½ kilo or 1 pound of shrimp, buy those with heads attached and has a red/orange fat visible inside the head.
6 cups of water
one big handful of kaffir lime leaves
another big handful of lemongrass, discard the outer layers and cut to 2′ pieces
a few thick slices of Galangal, peeled
1 cup sliced mushroom, you can use either cremini or shitake, or both
juice from 3 limes, you may need more
about ¼ cup of fish sauce
2 tbsp of Nam-prik Pao
a few bird eye chillies (Thai chillies)

mise en place:
Shrimps: rinse, peel and devain the shrimps, reserve the shells and heads. Squeeze the fat out from the heads and reserve in a separate bowl.

First you make the stock:
Heat the shells, heads, in a pot with the water. Bruise the kaffir lime leaves and smash the lemongrass and galangal a bit and throw them into the pot. (Reserve a few lime leaves, a slice or two of galangal, and some lemon grass for the soup later) After the water come to a full boil, lower the heat to simmer and continue to cook for about 5 minutes. Strain, crush the shells and heads well to squeeze all the yummy taste from them.

Then the soup:
Heat the stock to a boil, add the shrimp, shrimp fat, mushrooms, and the rest of the lime leaves and lemongrass. When the shrimps are just done (take care not to overcook the shrimps), turn the heat off. Season with fish sauce, lime juice and Nam-prik Pao. If you like it hotter, smash up a few chillies and throw them in. The taste should be sour, salty, hot, with a slight sweetness at the end.

I often throw in a few extra chillies whole, letting my guest smash them up with a spoon in their own bowls. This way everyone can control their own level of heat. My dear wimpy friend Valerie is eternally grateful to me for this. 🙂

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20 Responses to “Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)

  • itadakimasu said:
    February 16th, 2005 at 7:36pm

    Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)

    mise en place:
    Shrimps: rinse, peel and devain the shrimps, reserve the shells and heads. Squeeze the fat out from the heads and reserve in a separate bowl.

    First you make the stock:
    Heat the shells, heads, in a pot with the water.

  • Jetset said:
    February 19th, 2006 at 5:30pm

    Just tried this recipe after seeing it some time ago. This is awesome. Absolutely.

  • Sonia said:
    September 22nd, 2006 at 5:18am

    My name is Sonia. I live in the us. I want to make some Thai food. I would like to know where is the best to order ingredients for Thai recipes. I live in Naples, Florida.
    corp khun ka

  • Karla Pengsagun said:
    August 3rd, 2007 at 11:35pm

    Hi Sonia, You can find all the fresh ingredients for Tom Yum and real Thai fish sauce and Nam Prik Pao at our online grocery for Thai food,

  • Rasa Malaysia said:
    September 19th, 2007 at 8:48am

    Pim, thanks for this recipe. I just posted my creation on my blog. LOL. 😉

  • Andaliman said:
    September 20th, 2007 at 1:32pm

    Hi Pim,
    Rasa Malaysia posted a recipe of Tom Yum Goong, then I clicked on the link, it went to your post. Your tom yum looks so good, I should try someday

  • Tummythoz said:
    September 24th, 2007 at 4:25am

    Halo! Came over from Rasa Malaysia to ‘steal’ your recipe. Yummy blog! I’ll be back to steal more.

  • Anu said:
    September 25th, 2007 at 10:52am

    the tom tum goong looks yummy.I just wanna try that but Is there a vegetarian version of that?

  • Jas said:
    September 26th, 2007 at 1:50am

    what is Nam Prik Pao?

  • Truc said:
    November 9th, 2007 at 5:11pm

    I’ve not had the guts (yet) to make nam prik pao AND cause a terror alert here in central London. I used a ready made jar of nam prik pao, followed the exact recipe above and its was delicious. Best tom yum goong ever, I think I’ve given the London Thai restaurants a run for their money 🙂 thanks Pim.

  • charmaine said:
    May 14th, 2008 at 11:26pm

    I would like to know the history & significance behind the Thai food , Tom Yum Goong .

  • Katie Hildreth said:
    June 26th, 2008 at 5:34pm

    I love your blog and your recipes. I love Thai food and I can’t wait to try the Pad Thai for beginners and this soup to get started. I have to go shopping for a wok!

  • GERRY said:
    October 13th, 2008 at 7:47am


  • I Need Money Desperately said:
    May 21st, 2010 at 12:14am

    And now my mouth is all watery.. 😛 Thanks much for sharing this one to us. I’m loving your posts.

  • Dcrab said:
    November 27th, 2010 at 6:24am

    I want to learn more about Asian stocks. It’s a bit of a mystery. It seems they usually use a quick style broth, but I need to know when a full on stock is too much and when it could make it perfect. I learned about shrimp juice, using the heads for a quick broth. I’ve learned about putting a few pork bones in with the chicken bones for stock. Would I make the stock plain so as to add the aromatics later? I would put them in but it seems logical to keep the aromatics out so I can keep my stock versatile and use aromatics as I’m making the soup or whatever in question.

  • Manus Wec said:
    February 9th, 2011 at 4:00am

    This is really delicious soup and it’s really easy to cook. It takes just 15 min to prepare. The problem is not cooking – the problem is to get all these ingredients. It’s rather difficult to find true tom yum paste, galangal or lemongrass in local store. I offer to take a look on thai online shops. They send fresh ingredients from Thailand worldwide. Check this
    And here is my recipe for 2 servings:
    Chicken stock……………….1 liter (4 standard cups)
    Lemongrass…………………2 stalks
    Galangal………………………1 medium size root (70g or 2,5oz)
    Кaffir lime leaves…………7 leaves
    Fish sauce Nam Pla……..4 table spoons (60ml)
    Thai chili paste……………2 table spoons (30ml)
    Lime…………………………..2 limes
    Mushrooms………………100g or 3,5oz
    Chili peppers…………….1 to 5 pieces (1 is not so spicy, 5 pcs is pretty hot)
    Prawns ……………………..0,5 kg or 1,1lb
    Coriander………………….A little

    First step: prepare galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves. Slice galangal and lemongrass and add them to boiling chucken stock with kaffir lime leaves. Then bring your stock back to boil.

    Second step: add mushrooms, fish sauce and chilli paste.

    Third and last step: Remove shells from prawns except tails and put them to stock. Press juice out of limes and add sliced chili peppers. As soon as prawns turn red add coriander and your first true Tom Yum is ready.

  • penny stocks said:
    March 15th, 2011 at 11:55am

    Tom Yum Goong hot and sour shrimp soup ingredients: 250 gr shrimps 1000 ml chicken stock/broth 250 gr straw mushrooms 2 jeruk purut / kaffir lime leaves.

  • Eileen said:
    August 1st, 2012 at 1:08am

    hw many people can this serve?

  • Dave said:
    August 24th, 2012 at 3:19am

    This is a great recipe!! My children and friends have really, really liked it. Thank you.

  • fran said:
    March 25th, 2013 at 7:47am

    Hi Chez Pim, I’m just wondering if you’d recommend cooking a large pot of tom yum goong at once for later serving? will it taste as fresh ? Im planning to open a thai restaurant serving tom yum goong soups. how do the restaurants do it in Thailand? thank you so much. your site really helps me alot 🙂

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