Tom Yum Paste Recipe

Close-Up of Thai Vegetables
Achim Mller / EyeEm / Getty Images
  • Total: 12 mins
  • Prep: 12 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 3/4 Cup (1 Serving)
Ratings (53)

Tom Yum paste is meant to be the flavoring for Tom Yum soup, but it is also simply delicious as a marinade. It works wonders with all types of chicken, fish, and seafood as well as pork. Just slather on this flavor-popping paste, then either bake, pan-fry, or grill for a dish that sings with authentic Thai taste! The paste is easy to make—just whip it up in your mini food chopper or food processor. It's healthier than store-bought Thai pastes or marinades and tastes ten times better. 

What You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup finely minced lemongrass (fresh or prepared frozen; available at Asian food stores)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece ginger (or galangal, sliced)
  • 1 fresh red chili (sliced, or 1/2 to 1 tsp. dried crushed chili or cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 cup coriander/cilantro leaves and stems (fresh chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce (available at Asian food stores)
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. shrimp paste (available at Asian food stores)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 3 heaping tsp. palm sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 to 3 spring onions (sliced)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. coconut milk (this thins it out to make blending easier; if you want a thick paste, don't add it)

How to Make It

  1. Place all ingredients in a mini food chopper or food processor. Blend to create a fragrant Tom Yum spice paste.

Tips for Using This Spice Paste

  • This paste is excellent over fish fillets or steaks, shrimp and other shellfish, or chicken or pork pieces before grilling. With fish and seafood, there is no need to marinate (the lime juice will actually begin to cook the fish and seafood)—just slather the paste over and cook right away.
  • If cooking for two, use only half the paste as a marinade and save the rest to make a delicious side sauce. Place half the paste in a small saucepan. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut milk or fresh cream. Stir as you bring the sauce to a light simmer (avoid boiling, or you will lose the fresh flavor of this sauce). Drizzle over your entree, or serve on the side. Equally delicious over rice or new potatoes.
  • To use this paste for soup, bring a pot of good-quality chicken stock to a boil. Add spice paste a few tablespoons at a time, taste-testing as you go, until you're happy with the flavor and spice level. Add more fish sauce instead of salt as needed. Add shrimp or tofu, plus desired vegetables. Coconut milk can be added for a creamier soup.


Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
589 Calories
17g Fat
97g Carbs
25g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)