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Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup | Tom Yum Goong | ต้มยำกุ้ง

Now that I’ve shared a soup that the boyfriend isn’t a huge fan of, let me share one of his favorites — Tom Yum Goong.  In fact, this soup is so well loved by Thais and non-Thais alike that I think it just might qualify as everyone’s favorite Thai soup!

Like many other Thai dishes, the flavors in this soup are complex.  It starts with a shrimp-based broth that’s infused with lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and then builds from there with heat from Thai chilis, sourness from lime juice, and a fresh pop of cilantro.  Straw mushrooms and whole shrimp add substance to the broth and before you know it, you have an incredibly flavorful and completely delicious bowl of soup in front of you.  

Really, the way all of these disparate flavors come together so well never ceases to amaze me…

Fortunately it’s really not hard to make this soup, even with all of these complex flavors.  Rather than time or effort, the key to making tom yum goong (and really, most Thai dishes) well is having the right proportions of the ingredients.  This is something that I can guide you with in the recipe below, but you also have to rely on your tastebuds for, since not all limes have the same sourness, not all fish sauces have the same saltiness, and not all people like the same amount of spice…  But I can tell you that once I had my proportions down, tom yum goong quickly became one of my favorite Thai soups as well!

And because I love sharing our favorites with you in video form, here’s a little demonstration of how I make my tom yum goong.  I hope it soon becomes your favorite Thai soup too!


Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup | Tom Yum Goong | ต้มยำกุ้ง

Makes 2-3 servings

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup | Tom Yum Goong | ต้มยำกุ้ง


  • 4 cups water
  • 3 red Thai chilis, bruised
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into segments and bruised
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, deveined and torn
  • 10-12 whole large shrimp (~1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup straw mushrooms
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted chili paste
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped


  1. Wash the shrimp. Separate the heads from the body and save for use in the broth. Take the shells off and devein the shrimp.
  2. Place the shrimp heads in 4 cups water and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the shrimp heads out and then add the roasted chili paste to the broth.
  3. Next add the lemongrass, lime leaves, and bruised chilis to the broth. Simmer for a few more minutes to allow the herbs to release their flavors (at least 5 minutes).
  4. Add the mushrooms and allow to cook through. Then add the shrimp and cook until just done.
  5. Add fish sauce and lime juice. Taste the broth and adjust as needed.
  6. Take off the heat and add chopped cilantro.
  7. Serve over hot jasmine rice and enjoy!

8 comments… add one
  • Tracy August 7, 2016, 1:13 am

    Can’the wait to make this Dish! What can I substitute the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves With?
    Thank you!

    • Rachel August 7, 2016, 10:20 pm

      Hi Tracy! I wouldn’t recommend making this soup without the lemongrass or kaffir lime leaves — they are absolutely integral to the flavor of the dish. You can often find fresh lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves for purchase online if you can’t find them locally (such as on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2aDRpMX and http://amzn.to/2axyzrc). Best of luck!

  • Diana November 21, 2015, 9:15 pm

    This looks amazing! Thank you for spending the time putting these videos together. They are seriously some of the best food/recipe videos I’ve come across. You make cooking Thai food seem approachable!

    • Rachel November 21, 2015, 10:18 pm

      Thanks so much, Diana! Love to hear that feedback :)

  • Amy Pannotayan September 13, 2014, 5:54 am

    Tom Yum Goong is probably one of my favorite dishes! Growing up in a traditional Thai family, I grew to love my dad’s extra spicy Tom Yum. I am so excited to try out your recipe! You made it look so easy and yum! I’m currently starting my own Thai food blog, please check it out at http://potentialfoodie.wordpress.com!

  • Lisa @ Cook Eat Paleo February 13, 2013, 4:28 am

    This looks great – easy and gluten-free. Looking forward to trying it!

  • Alyssa (Everyday Maven) January 30, 2013, 4:22 am

    Rachel you made that look so easy – great video! And, I am in love with that serving bowl. Where did you get it?

    • Rachel January 30, 2013, 4:47 am

      Thanks, Alyssa! The bowl was a thrift store find :)

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