Tom Yum Talay: Thai Seafood Soup

Seafood soup on elaborately set table.
Anita Ong / Stocksy United
Ratings (62)
  • Total: 27 mins
  • Prep: 12 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 bowls (serves 4)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
402 Calories
25g Fat
36g Carbs
17g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 bowls (serves 4)
Amount per serving
Calories 402
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 21g 106%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 1760mg 77%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 17g
Calcium 174mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Thai seafood soup is authentic and incredible tasting--you'll love the combination of seafood with lemongrass, coconut milk, and lime. This soup soothes and uplifts the spirit as well as the body. In Thailand, Tom Yum Talay is known for its health benefits and is the Thai equivalent of chicken noodle soup when you're feeling ill. It's also remarkably easy to make once you have the ingredients.

If you have any trouble finding these ingredients, don't be put off making it--just try the recommended substitutions and it will still turn out great! Make this soup on a chilly fall or winter day and you'll soon feel thoroughly warmed from the inside out. 

Substitutions That Work

  • If you can't find lemongrass: 3 slices fresh lemon (boil in the soup)
  • Instead of kaffir lime leaves: 1/2 tsp. lime zest
  • For chili: 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or dried crushed chili (chili flakes)
  • If you don't like the smell of fish sauce: 1/2 tsp. dark soy sauce plus 1 tbsp. regular soy sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (minced, or 2 1/2 to 3 Tbsp. frozen or bottled prepared lemongrass, or see substitutions list)
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp. galangal (or ginger, grated)
  • 1 to 2 red chilies (sliced, or 1 to 2 tsp. Thai chili sauce)
  • Optional: 1 handful mushrooms (fresh, sliced thinly)
  • 12 medium raw shrimp (shelled and deveined)
  • Other seafood of your choice: fresh mussels, scallops, crab or sliced fish fillet (up to 1 handful of each)
  • 1 medium tomato (cut into thin strips)
  • Optional: 21 handful baby bok choy
  • 1/2 can (14 ounces) thick coconut milk (not "lite")
  • 2 tbsp. fish sauce (if you don't like the smell of fish sauce, see substitutions list)
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (coriander) leaves (roughly chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Pour stock plus lemongrass and lime leaves in a deep soup pot over medium-high heat. If using fresh lemongrass, also add the upper stalk pieces for extra flavor. Bring to a boil.

  2. Add garlic, galangal or ginger, chili, and mushrooms (if using). Reduce heat to medium and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.

  3. Add the shrimp, any other seafood you're using, tomato and baby bok choy (if using). Simmer over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, or until shrimp turns pink and plump and mussels have opened. Scallops, crab, and fish should all be firm to the touch and no longer translucent.

  4. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Stir well to combine and gently simmer until hot (do not boil at this point). Taste-test the soup for salt and spice, adding more fish sauce instead of salt (about 1 more tbsp.), or more chili as desired. If too sour, add more sugar. If too spicy for your taste or if you'd like it creamier, add more ​coconut milk. If too salty, add another squeeze of lime juice.

  5. Serve in bowls with fresh coriander sprinkled over. For an extra hit of flavor, you can also add some Thai chili sauce, Nam Prik Pao, either store-bought or homemade.