Traditional Tom Yum Kung

Tom Yum Soup

D. Schmidt

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
169 Calories
2g Fat
28g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 169
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 17mg 6%
Sodium 1720mg 75%
Total Carbohydrate 28g 10%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Protein 14g
Calcium 182mg 14%
*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.)

Tom Yum Kung is the most famous of all Thai soup recipes, and authentic Tom Yum soup is without coconut milk and features all four of the famous Thai flavors: salty, sour, sweet and spicy. This Tom Yum Kung recipe provides a pungent and zesty feast of flavors with every slurp and is an excellent remedy for a cold or flu bug, as it will instantly clear your sinuses and warm you up. It's also highly nutritious and is sure to impress at any dinner party.

This recipe does allow you the choice of adding coconut milk (which then makes the soup Tom Kha) or leaving it out. If you prefer a richer-tasting soup, try adding it; whereas if you prefer a clearer soup, try it without.


  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (minced; or 3 tablespoons frozen/bottled prepared lemongrass or, substitute with 3 lemon slices)
  • 2 to 3 makrut lime leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon lime zest)
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon galangal (or ginger, grated)
  • 1 fresh red chili, minced (or 1 to 2 teaspoons Thai chili sauce)
  • 1 handful of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 12 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Optional: 1 handful of broccoli
  • Optional: cherry tomatoes
  • Optional: baby bok choy
  • Optional: 1/2 cup coconut milk (or evaporated milk—the latter is often used in Thailand for traditional tom yum kung)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather ingredients.

  2. Place stock in a large pot over high heat. Add the minced lemongrass (and leftover lemongrass stalks if using fresh lemongrass) and lime leaves. Bring to a boil.

  3. When soup reaches a bubbling boil, reduce heat to medium or until you get a nice simmer. Add the garlic, galangal or ginger, chili, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce (if you dislike the smell of fish sauce, you can substitute it with 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce plus 1 tablespoon regular soy sauce) and soy sauce. Stir well and simmer 3 minutes.

  4. Add the shrimp plus other vegetables, if using. Simmer until shrimp are pink and plump (about 3 minutes).

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the coconut milk or evaporated milk. Now taste-test the soup, looking for a balance of salty, sour, and spicy. If not salty or flavorful enough, add 1 tablespoon more fish sauce or soy sauce. If too sour, add more sugar. If too spicy (Tom Yum is meant to be spicy!), add a little coconut or evaporated milk. If too salty, add another squeeze of lime juice.

  6. Ladle soup into bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of fresh cilantro


  • For those who like additional spice or flavor, add a dollop of nam prik pao chili sauce, either store-bought or homemade. It can also be served on the side in small dishes, so each person can add as much as they prefer.