simple tom yum soup

Simple Tom Yum Soup Recipe

Tom yum is a traditional Thai hot and sour soup made with fragrant herbs, bird’s eye chilies, shrimp, fresh lime juice and fish sauce. 

Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Thai
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 serving
Author Craig Fear


  • 1-2 cups fish broth or shrimp or chicken broth or just water
  • 4-5 whole shrimp, peeled
  • 1 stalk lemongrass top part discarded, bottom part sliced into thin pieces
  • 2-3 inch piece galangal OK to sub regular ginger, chopped
  • 3-4 kaffir lime leaves ripped into smaller pieces
  • 1-3 Thai bird's eye chiles, chopped into small rings
  • ¼ medium onion or ½ small onion, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • Handful of mushrooms, chopped
  • splash coconut milk or regular whole milk, optional
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • small handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Pinch coconut sugar, optional
  • fish sauce to taste
  • 1-2 lime wedges, to taste


  1. Bring broth to a simmer and add lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves and simmer about 5 minutes.

  2. Add shrimp and simmer a few minutes.
  3. Add chilies, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms and simmer a few minutes. Add a splash of coconut milk or regular milk.
  4. Remove from heat and season to taste with coconut sugar, fish sauce and lime.  Top with green onion and cilantro.

Recipe Notes

1. For a mild spice, use only one chili, for a medium spiciness use two and for a really good kick, use three!  For zero kick, don't use any chilies at all.


2. Don't eat the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves or galangal!  They can't hurt you but they're quite tough and meant more for flavoring.


3. Sub squid or any type of fish you want for the shrimp.


4. Use any veggies you want in place of the tomatoes, onions and mushrooms. Broccoli, carrots, baby corn, cauliflower and string beans are other common Thai vegetables.