Tom yum gai soup with nam prik pao

Tom yum gai is a chicken soup which is popular in Thailand. One of my favourite things to order at Thai restaurants is soups as they are always so vibrant, fresh and tasty! They are also really easy to make at home with exotic ingredients that you should be able to easily find at a local Asian grocery store or Thai store. This chicken soup balances spicy, sour, salty and sweet. This Thai chicken soup is different from my previous other soup as in this I have added most important in Tom yum soup for additional taste Nam prik poa (homemade), chilli paste or chilli oil they call. My home made Nam prik poa (chilli paste), I have added dry shrimps, tamarind, jaggery (gud) instead of palm sugar and other ingredients, which will enhance the flavour of tom yum gai (Thai chicken soup) and other Thai soups.

The basic stock consists of galangal, lemon grass lime leaves, Thai birds red chilli, coriander roots or stalks. I have prepared this with few pieces of chicken, stock cube, if you want can prepare fresh chicken stock and prepare the soup. The lime leaves and lemon grass is full of lemony flavour and its fragrance is very good. I will call this soup as a fragrant soup also. The stock itself a soup as it is boiled with fragrant lemony ingredients. The chillies used are birds eye red chilli which is very hot; you can use any other red chilli which is available to you. There are so many variations in this soup which I will be sharing with you one by one. Already I have shared few tom yam soup in prawn with slight changes, so that you can adopt as per your taste and the ingredients which are easily available.

This soup I have prepared according to my taste, you can reduce or add Nam prik poa (chilli paste in oil) more of your taste and liking. This soup is hot, sour and tasty.


    For stock

  1. Water – 3 1/2 cups
  2. Chicken cube (Knorr) – 1
  3. Chicken – 80 gms
  4. For crushing in a pestle mortar

  5. Lemon grass – 2
  6. Coriander roots and stems - 10
  7. Ginger or galangal – 1 tsp or 1 inch
  8. Dry lime leaves (small) – 8
  9. Red chillies (birds eye) – 2
  10. For soup

  11. Lemon grass – 1
  12. Dry Lime leaves – 4 to 5
  13. Chicken stock – 2 1/4 cup
  14. Red chillies – 2
  15. Mushrooms - 5
  16. Carrot – 1/2
  17. Fish sauce – 1 1/2 tbsp
  18. Lime juice – 1
  19. Coriander leaves (chopped) – 1/3 cup
  20. Nam prik pao – 2 1/2 tsp
  21. Spring onion (green leaves) – 1


    In this recipe, there are 2 steps: a. Making stock with herbs and chicken pieces and chicken cube. b. Making soup by adding vegetables and stock.

    Making simple stock

  1. Chop the ingredients’ for crushing roughly and keep it aside.
  2. For soup chop the vegetables thinly and sliced.
  3. Take all the ingredients which have to be crushed in a pestle mortar, if you do not have pestle mortar, smash it with any heavy metal or utensil.
  4. First crush coriander roots and then other ingredients one by one, it has to be crushed roughly. It is done just to take out as much as the flavour of it while boiling.
  5. Now boil it for 5min and simmer it for 15min by closing the lid, cook till good aroma and flavour comes.
  6. When the stock is ready, you can see that all ingredients are cooked well and good aroma comes from it.
  7. Now strain the stock, which is reduced to 2 to 2 1/4 cup and keep it aside.
  8. Remove the cooked chicken pieces and can put back it in the stock.
  9. Soup

  10. Put the stock in a vessel; add chopped mushrooms and carrot and boil it for 5min. during this process you can remove the chicken pieces and keep it aside as it is cooked already, to avoid over cooking.
  11. Now add fish sauce, chillies, chopped pieces of lemon grass, spring onion, coriander leaves, lime leaves (tear or chopped) and lime juice, boil it for 5 min and simmer it for 5min, till all the vegetables are cooked well.
  12. At this stage you can add chicken pieces, boil on simmer for few minutes and switch off and serve hot.
  13. Or

  14. While simmering you can add the cooked chicken pieces back and Nam prik poa (chilli paste in oil) with its oil (1tsp to 1 1/2 tsp) and mix well, boil for 5 min on simmer and switch off.
  15. Serve in a bowl, garnish with few chopped coriander leaves.
  16. In this soup, you can add palm sugar or jaggery or sugar 1/2 tsp but it is optional, as my home made nam prik poa has already (jaggery) sweetness in it.


  1. While boiling stock, if the water gets reduced, there is lesser amount of stock, then add water and boil, to get adequate amount of stock. If the stock is boiled in simmer, it gives a good flavour, and absorbs all the flavour of ingredients.
  2. If you want little spicier, can add one more chilli or nam prik poa (chilli paste).
  3. Lemon grass and lime leaves is the main ingredient, it gives the maximum flavour. You can add fresh, frozen or dry ones. Whenever you add lime leaves, tear or chop it and lemon grass, chop and crush, it will release more flavour.
  4. I have not used salt at all, as fish sauce has salt. You can add sugar or jaggery or palm sugar for the sweetness.
  5. With the same ingredients you can make prawn soup with chicken stock or chicken cube(knor), I sometimes use chicken cube for prawns soup also because of unavailability of prawn stock, it gives you a good taste.
  6. For lemon grass the top which is very thin looks like dry skin, just chop and remove it, we need only the thick part of the lemon grass, you can remove two layers of its skin and use for the stock.
  7. You can use peel of lime (lime rind or zest, not the white part as it is bitter) instead of lime leaves and if coriander roots are not there can use coriander stems.
  8. Sometimes in the same soup I add tamarind juice and boil, for the darker colour and tangy taste.
  9. Its your choice what you want to add and the quantity also, always taste and add the ingredients.