Tom Yum Goong Soup (Thai Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)… My first taste of hot and sour soup was at a Thai restaurant when I lived in Hawaii. It was late October and I was homesick. I was particularly missing the cold, stormy fall weather that I was used to ushering in soup season (my favorite season!). What I remember most about my first encounter with this delightful soup, was that I hated my first spoonful! I had not had a lot of experience with Thai or Asian cuisine and when I took that first slurp, I was in for a whole new world of flavors. For some reason though, the spicy, sweet, tangy and savory combination compelled me to keep eating until I finished the entire bowl and contemplated ordering another (At the time I was a poor college kid, so I didn’t).
Fast forward 10 years and my tastes have grown to love fish sauce, lemongrass, ginger and the various other elements that characterize asian flavors. And so now when I eat this soup, I love every spoonful from the first to the last drop! What makes this soup so unique and addictive is that it tantalizes all of your taste buds. There is a delicate play between the sweetness of the onions and ginger, saltiness of the fish sauce and stock, sourness of the tamarind and lime and spiciness of the red pepper and thai chilis. There is no other soup like it! And my very favorite part about this soup is that to achieve such intricate flavors it only takes a few ingredients and less than 30 minutes. Perfect!
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 sweet onion, diced
- 4-6 stalks of lemongrass, bruised and sliced
- 4 kefir lime leaves
- 1 large piece of thai ginger (galangal), or regular ginger, peeled and minced
- 2 limes, divided
- 2 tsp tamarind paste
- 1 Tbsp red pepper flake
- 4 shittake mushrooms, minced
- 6 thai chili peppers, minced (leave seeds in if you like more kick)
- 1 Tbsp of fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp of coconut aminos
- 4 cups chicken or seafood stalk
- 1 lb of fresh shrimp, deveined, cleaned and tails off
- 1/2 bunch of scallions, chopped for garnish
- 1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped for garnish
- 2 medium roma tomatoes, diced for garnish
- In a medium soup pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat until it coats the bottom. Add diced onions, lemongrass and ginger and cook until onions are soft.
- Soak cleaned, deveined shrimp in 2-3 cups of cold ice water until ready to use.
- Add shittake mushrooms, thai chilis and red pepper flakes. Cook 2 minutes until mushrooms start to release juices.
- Add stock, fish sauce, coconut aminos, tamarind paste and lime leaves. Bring to a boil. Add the zest and juice of 1 lime and gently boil for 4-5 minutes.
- While at a gentle boil, drain and add the salted shrimp. Keep at a gentle boil until the shrimp is firm and bright pink, they should somewhat float.
- Remove from heat and laddle very hot soup into serving bowls. Remove any lime leaves and squeeze 1/4 of remaining lime into each serving. Garnish with scallions, cilantro and diced tomato.
This soup is incredibly easy to make and so satisfying. I’ve had it in many restaurants and there seems to be a a common variation with the addition of coconut milk at the end to give it a creamy texture.
Not a shrimp person? You can leave out the shrimp and use vegetable stock to make it vegetarian, or use already cooked chicken instead.
Check out these other amazing soup recipes, just in time for soup season, er… I mean fall!