“Tom Yum goong” is the most popular soup in Thailand. Balancing a hot and sour taste, it can be also found in Lao. “Tom” designates the boiling process, “Yum” deriving from “Yam” refers to Thai spices and “goong” literally means prawn.
For making Tom Yum, you can identify 4 ingredients groups:
- The essential ingredients,
- The “whatever your want” ingredients,
- The condiments
- And the proteins.
Group 1: This group gathers the most important ingredients, essential for making Tom Yum. It consists of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal ginger and that’s what makes it difficult to do it back home. Indeed, those ingredients which make THE taste of Tom Yum may not be available in Asian supermarket in your home country.
Group 2: The cooking rule in a soup is that you can basically put whatever you want on it! Tom Yum doesn’t except this rule as long as you keep the 3 main ingredients mentioned above. Usually, you will put mushrooms (feel free to choose the ones you prefer), tomato, coriander leaves, green onions, coconut milk and chilis for the bravest ones!
Group 3: The condiments here consists of lime or lemon juice, fish sauce and Thai chilies paste (Nam Prik Pow).
Group 4: Tom Yum soup is usually made with praws (goong) but you are free to use the proteins you prefer as tofu or chicken for example.
Recipe of Tom Yum Goong from the Silom Thai Cooking School – for 1 or 2 servings:
- 6 medium sized prawns, peeled and deveined
- 1 straw mushrooms or any kind cut into quarters
- 1 lemongrass cut into pieces
- 3 kaffir lime leaves torn in half
- 10 slices of galangal ginger (also called thai ginger)
- 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce
- 1/4 tablespoon of lime or lemon juice
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 tomato cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped coriander leaves
- 1 tablespoon of chopped green onions
- 1/2 tablespoon of Thai chilies paste
- 2 tablespoons of coconul milk
- 2 bird’s eye chilies (not too spicy, Thai people usually eat it with 5!)
- Put lemongrass, galangal ginger, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms, chilies and tomato into water and bring to boil, cook until tender.
- Add the prawns and cook until tender.
- Add coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and Thai chilies paste.
- Serve hot and garnish with fresh coriander and green onions.
You may think it is stupid to notice it but it wasn’t obvious for me when I tried Tom Yum, ginger slices, lemongrass and kaffir leaves are not supposed to be eaten!