Home Recipes Lemongrass and shrimp soup : Tom Yam Kung

Lemongrass and shrimp soup : Tom Yam Kung

by Pierre To
7 minutes to read
Lemongrass and shrimp soup : Tom Yam Kung

Tom Yam is one of Thailand's most popular dishes, a firework of flavour, here is the recipe for this lemongrass and prawn soup, Tom Yam Kung.

As with many Thai dishes, the name of the recipe can be written in different ways and is best known in its English versions:

Tom Yam Kung or Tom-Yum-Goong which is also the title of a Thai boxing film (The Honour of the Dragon (Tom-Yum-Goong)), but in French it is rather : Tom Yam Koung.

And in Thai: ต้มยำ กุ้ง.

Description of the Lemongrass and Shrimp Soup

The word " Tom "refers to boiling, broths," Yam "refers to a kind of spicy, sour Thai salad.

The Tom Yam is characterised by its distinctly sour and pungent flavour, with herbs such as lemongrass, combava leaves (often mistakenly called bergamot), galangal root, generously used in the broth.

Kung means shrimp but you can also do the Tom Yam with chicken (kai) or tofu (tao hou).

In the restaurant it will become :
Tom yam kai Lemongrass and chicken soup
Tom Yam tao hou Lemongrass and tofu soup

See : Recognise Thai dishes and order them in Thai in restaurants

Lemongrass and shrimp soup : Tom Yam Kung
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4.33 from 37 votes

Lemongrass and shrimp soup : Tom Yam Kung

One of the most famous Thai dishes, and one of the best soups in the world, Tom Yam Kung.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time18 mins
Total Time28 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Thai: whole country
Keyword: Shrimp, Soup, Tom Yam
Servings: 5 bowls


Ingredients for the Tom Yam Kung

  • 2 litres water
  • 4 stems lemongrass
  • 1 piece galanga the size of a thumb
  • 10 sheets combava
  • 5 Thai chillies (depending on your ability to eat chilli)
  • 5 pods garlic
  • ½ kilo Shrimp
  • 300 grams oyster mushrooms
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 2 white onions average size
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 8 - 12 tablespoons fish sauce according to your taste
  • 8 - 12 tablespoons lime juice 10 to 15 limes
  • 1 Handle coriander


Preparation of the lemongrass and shrimp soup : Tom Yam Kung

  • The first thing to do is to put about 2 litres of water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  • Then start by squeezing the limes.
    Slice about 10 limes and collect the juice in a small bowl and set aside for later.
  • Take your lemongrass stems, remove the outermost leaf first and discard it.
    Then use a mallet to lightly pound the lemongrass to release the flavours.
    Then simply cut it diagonally into strips of 1 inch or more.
  • Take about 1 thumb-sized piece of galangal and slice it.
  • Roughly crush about 10 combava leaves - no need to cut them, just tear them up - which will help release their flavour.
  • Peel about 5 cloves of garlic.
  • Take about 10 Thai chillies (prik kee noo) and remove the stem, then cut them in half.
    You can remove the seeds to make it less spicy.
  • Throw the lemongrass, galangal, combava leaves, garlic and chillies into the water.
    You can put the lid on until it boils to release all the flavours more quickly.
  • Now prepare your shrimp (or whatever meat of choice you make tom yum with).
  • Boil your soup with all the herbs in it for about 10 minutes, and then you can put the shrimp in and reduce the heat.
  • Then add your mushrooms, which you must rinse beforehand.
  • Take two roma tomatoes and two small white onions and cut them into quarters and add them to the tom yum.
  • If you use shrimp for this recipe, you may get some foam on your soup, in which case you can just skim the top slightly and discard it.
  • Boil the tom yam for about 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Then add about 6 tablespoons of fish sauce first, and 2 teaspoons of sugar.
    You may need more of each, but start with that and taste.
  • Boil your tom yam for a minute or two, then turn off the heat.
    You don't want your tom yum to be overcooked.
    The mushrooms and onions should be soft, and then it's ready.
  • Once your fire is out, add about 8 tablespoons of lime juice (depending on how you like it).
  • Be sure to taste test until your tom yum is perfectly sour and salty.
  • You may need to add more fish sauce, sugar or lime juice.
  • Finally, chop a handful of fresh coriander and add it to the soup to give the final touch to your tom yam.


Lime juice and coriander taste fresher and more lively when they are not cooked. Therefore, turn off the heat before adding them.


The recipe for Tom Yam Kung on video

Here is the recipe for Thai shrimp soup, made by La House of Thailand :

See also :

Recipe for Khao Tom, Thai rice soup for hangovers

Khao Soy, a curry noodle soup, a Chiang Mai delicacy

Tom Kha Kai, the recipe for chicken soup with lemon coconut milk

Thai soups: Tom Yam Kung and Tom Kha Kai

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