Delicious and warming, Tom Yum Soup is a classic Thai soup that is best known for its clear, sour broth infused with lemongrass and galangal. Make this vegetarian with tofu, or add shrimp or chicken!

Delicious and warming, Tom Yum Soup is a classic Thai soup that is best known for its clear, sour broth infused with lemongrass and galangal. Make this vegetarian with tofu, or add shrimp or chicken!

“If anything is worth doing, do it with all your heart.” 

Buddha

This easy authentic Tom Yum Soup can be enjoyed all year round but is especially nice in the colder months. It contains healing ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves.

These aromatic herbs add aroma to the soup, while the fish sauce and tamarind season the soup to perfection.

Tom Yum leans on the sour side, so be generous with your lime juice or tamarind. The traditional Thai recipe uses tamarind and lime juice for the acidic, tangy taste.

Ingredients IN tom Yum soup

Ingredients for tofu Tom Yum soup on a table.
  • Stock or Broth. Vegetable broth, chicken stock, or beef stock all work great. In a pinch, water is fine too, but you will need to add extra fish sauce and lime juice for the extra flavors.
  • Tom Yum Paste– Look for Thai Nam Prik Pao to add to the soup. Or make your own Tom Yum Paste from scratch, or substitute with a little red curry paste.
  • Tamarind or Lime Juice. Use tamarind concentrate for the soup. Lime juice works great too.
  • Fish sauce. Salt will work, but the fish sauce will add the extra umami taste.
  • Kaffir lime leaves. Trim the ribs and leave them in large pieces. Read more about kaffir lime leaves and substitute here.
  • Lemongrass. Cut the lemongrass into long stalks, 3-4 inches each. Smash the pieces lightly to help release oil for the extra flavors and aroma.
  • Galangal. Use fresh or frozen galangal for this recipe. Smash the pieces lightly to help release oil for the extra flavors and aroma.
  • Cilantro stems. Use the thickest parts of cilantro stems where the flavors are.
  • Protein. Crispy tofu, thinly sliced chicken breast and shrimp, all work well here!

How to make Tom Yum soup

Step 1: If using tofu, make your crispy tofu first and set it aside. Use firm tofu for this recipe to keep the tofu from breaking. If using chicken or other protein, wait to add it towards the end.

Crisp  tofu in a pan for tom yum soup.

Step 2: Make the broth by combining broth, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir leaves, and cilantro stems in a large soup pot. Bring everything to a boil on medium-high heat for around 10 minutes.

Herbs and stock in a soup pot on the stove.

Lower the heat to medium, add the Thai Chili Paste, fish sauce, and sugar, and stir well.

Pouring chili paste for Tom Yum soup into a soup pot.

Step 3: Add the vegetables and let them cook until just tender- 3-5 minutes. If using chicken or shrimp, you can add it here as well.

Tofu in Tom Yum soup with vegetables in a soup pot.

Step 4: Add the tofu, tamarind or lime juice last, and turn the heat off.

Adjust with more fish sauce or salt and lime juice. Serve immediately alone or with a small bowl of rice, rice noodles, a tasty baguette, or sourdough bread.


Step 5: Garnish with a generous amount of cilantro and more lime wedges!

Recipe Notes

  • Make sure to add tamarind and lime juice at the very end, otherwise, your soup may turn bitter.
  • Remove the lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves before serving. The large pieces are for seasoning the soup only. But if you forget, just put them on the side.
  • Thai Chili Paste will add a spicy and sweet taste to your soup. Skip the sugar entirely if your chili paste adds enough sweetness to your soup.

Recipe FAQs

CAN YOU FREEZE TOM YUM SOUP?

Yes. You can freeze Tom Yum soup for up to 2 months. Before thawing, let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before heating it again at low heat.

WHAT IS A GOOD SIDE DISH TO HAVE WITH TOM YUM SOUP?

Tom Yum soup can be a stand-alone dish or eaten with cooked white rice. Artisan bread like baguettes, sourdough, or multi-grain bread is excellent for dipping the soup. Cooked rice, egg, or ramen noodles are also excellent for serving with Tom Yum.

WHAT VEGETABLES ARE BEST WITH TOM YUM SOUP?

These vegetables are excellent for use in Tom Yum soup. Tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, napa or regular cabbage, green bean, baby corn, kale, and zucchini.

Delicious and warming, Tom Yum Soup is a classic Thai soup that is best known for its clear, sour broth infused with lemongrass and galangal. Make this vegetarian with tofu, or add shrimp or chicken!

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Tofu tom yum soup with vegetables in green bowl with a spoon

Tom Yum Soup Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Suwanee | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Delicious and warming, Tom Yum Soup is a classic Thai soup that is best known for its clear, sour broth infused with lemongrass and galangal. Make this vegetarian with tofu, or add shrimp or chicken!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 10 oz crispy tofu, shrimp, or chicken breast
  • 4 cups veggie broth, chicken stock or beef stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, cut into 34 inch pieces, smashed to release oils
  • 24 slices galangal, lightly smashed
  • 26 kaffir lime leaves, squeezed or roughly torn for extra release of oils and flavors.
  • 1/4 cup cilantro stems, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 12 tablespoons Thai Chili Paste. Look for Thai Nam Prik Pao , or sub-red curry paste or Sambal Olek
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced in halves
  • 1 1/2 cups napa cabbage, sliced into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups bell peppers, sliced into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shallot, sliced long and thin.
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 22 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce. Adjust with more at the end
  • 1/4 cup tamarind concentrate or lime juice.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

  1. If making crispy tofu– cook according to this post: Crispy Tofu  (with salt and pepper) and set aside. Use firm tofu for this recipe to keep the tofu from breaking. If using chicken or other protein, wait to add it towards the end. See notes for chicken or shrimp. 

  2. Make the broth by combining stock, water lemongrass, galangal, kaffir leaves, and cilantro stems in a large soup pot. Bring everything to a boil on medium-high heat for around 10 minutes.

  3. Lower the heat to medium, add the Thai chili paste, fish sauce, and sugar, and stir well.

  4. Add the vegetables and let them cook for 5 minutes. (If using chicken or shrimp, add it now and cook until cooked through.)
  5. Add the tofu, tamarind (or lime juice)  last, and turn the heat off. Taste and adjust with more fish sauce or salt and lime juice.
  6. Serve immediately alone or with a small bowl of rice, rice noodles, a tasty baguette, or sourdough bread. Garnish with a generous amount of cilantro and more lime wedges!


Notes

  • If using chicken breast, thinly slice it (no more that 1/4 inch thick) and drop it in the soup broth raw, bring the broth to a simmer, chicken is done when opaque throughout- feel free to test a pieces. 
  • If using shrimp (peel and de-vein), drop it into the soup broth at the end,  they are done when opaque and form the letter “c”. If they turn into an “0” shape- they are overcooked (still edible of course) so watch carefully. 
  •  Make sure to add tamarind and lime juice at the very end, or your soup will turn bitter. When cooked too long at high heat, tamarind and lime juice will taste bitter and unpleasant in recipes. 
  • Thai Chili paste will add a spicy and sweet taste to your soup. Skip the sugar entirely if your chili paste adds enough sweetness to your soup. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 175
  • Sugar: 8.5 g
  • Sodium: 1452.1 mg
  • Fat: 3.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.6 g
  • Protein: 9.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. Your recipes are fantastic. Thank you! Thought I would suggest a clarification in this line “Tom Yum Paste. Look for Thai Chili Paste, called Thai Nam Prik Pao to add to the soup.” that you point out one can use Tom Yum Paste (which contains the lemongrass/citric juice/chili/galangal/kaffir lime leaves) instead of the Asian spices, if they’re not available fresh. It’s a quick and close substitute.






    1. I’m searching Amazon for the Thai Nam Prik Pao chili paste and I’m not seeing any with ingredients including the lemon grass, lime leaves, etc. Can you recommend a brand? Or is the paste you suggested meant to be used instead of all those items? Sorry- first time cooking like this.

      1. Hi Barbarba- yes you can use Nam Prik Pao chili paste instead, or feel free to add the lemongrass and limes leaves in addition to the paste. You can also use thai red curry paste which has the lemongrass in it.

  2. So glad I stumbled across this blog. Have made the Thai green curry and this tom yum soup. Delicious! Family rated it restaurant quality. Chef’s kiss. Thanks!






  3. Thank you Sylvie! I had asked for this recipe and cannot wait to make it. So good if nursing a cold! I often serve with fresh spring rolls

  4. Delicious! I will reduce the sambal olek the next time, a bit too firey for us, but otherwise a perfect winter soup.






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