Tom yum goong (Hot and sour prawns soup)

Tom yum is a soup made in Thailand and it is very popular and has many health benefits because of its combination of herbs and spices. The basic stock consists of galangal, lemon grass, lime leaves, Thai birds red chilli. This soup is made with chicken (tom yum gai), prawns, vegetables and fish.

I have prepared this with prawns. For stock I have boiled prawns shells in water and used as stock. I have used ginger instead of galangal. I did not get the fresh lime leaves, so iam using frozen crushed lime leaves. 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 chillies used are birds eye red chilli which is very hot; you can use any other red chilli which is available to you. In tom yum soup, shrimp paste is also added, but I have avoided it. You can add chilli oil with shrimp paste which is available in the market, can add tamarind juice, instead of lime leaves can use lime rind(skin of lime) by grating it, with these ingredients also you can make a tasty tom yum soup. There are so many variations in this soup which I will be sharing with one by one.

This soup is hot, sour and tasty also. It’s my favourite dish among other soups. That’s why I have tried so many versions by my self and sharing with you.

In this recipe we need more prawns shell for stock and lesser quantity of prawns meat for soup.


    For prawn stock

  1. Prawns (with shell) - 1/2 kg
  2. Water – 4 to 5 cups
  3. Crushing to paste

  4. Lemon grass – 2
  5. Coriander roots and stems - 8
  6. Ginger – 1 tsp or a small piece
  7. Lemon leaves – 2 1/2 tsp
  8. Red chillies (birds eye) – 2
  9. Prawns stock for boiling herbs – 3cups
  10. For soup

  11. Prawns - 12
  12. Lemon grass – 1
  13. Red chilli (sliced) – 2
  14. Mushroom (sliced) - 3
  15. Carrot (sliced) – 1/2
  16. Jaggery(palm sugar) – 1 tbsp
  17. Fish sauce – 2 1/2 tbsp
  18. Lemon juice – 3 tbsp
  19. Lemon leaves – 1 1/2 tsp
  20. Lemon juice (again) – 6 tsp
  21. Coriander leaves (chopped) – 1/3 cup
  22. Chilli oil (shrimp paste) – few drops (optional)
  23. Water – 1/3 cup


    In this there are 3 steps

    a. Making prawn stock

    b. Boiling herbs with prawn stock

    c. Adding vegetables and prawns to the stock

    To make prawns stock

  1. Remove the shells from the prawns and wash it properly and use it for stock. Keep the prawns aside.
  2. Take a vessel to boil stock, put 4 to 5 cups of water, add prawns shell with its head, when the boil comes, simmer it and boil for 15 minutes by closing the lid.
  3. Strain it and keep it aside in a container.
  4. Boiling prawns stock with herbs

  5. Take all the ingredients which has to be crushed in a pestle mortar, if you do not have smash it with any heavy metal or utensil.
  6. First crush coriander roots and then other ingredients one by one, it has to be crushed roughly, not like a paste, as seen in the picture.
  7. Add this crushes mixture into the prawn stock and boil it for few minutes, by simmering it, for 15min, till the stock becomes fragrant and colour changes with herbs.
  8. I have taken 3 cups of prawn stock and remaining in the freezer.
  9. Now strain the stock again and use it for soup, the stock might have reduced and gives you a good aroma and flavour.
  10. Soup

  11. Put the stock in a vessel; add chopped mushrooms and carrot boil it for 5min.
  12. Now add fish sauce, chillies, few pieces of lemon grass (chopped small pieces), coriander leaves, lemon juice, boil it for 5 to 8mins, till all the vegetables are cooked well.
  13. If the stock gets reduced can add water if required and boil.
  14. Now add raw prawns and cook it, till it is cooked well. Switch it off.
  15. Taste the soup, if you need more fish sauce or lemon juice can add it.
  16. Put it in a bowl and serve with few coriander leaves on top and drizzle some chilli oil (optional).
  17. Before adding chilli oil, taste the soup, it is hot and sour and good flavour and taste is there. The same soup after adding chilli oil gives different flavour and taste.
  18. It is your choice to add chilli oil or can avoid it, it is not a must.


  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 more spicy, can add one more chilli.
  3. Lemon grass is the main ingredient, it gives the maximum flavour.
  4. Chilli oil is from lotus brand, you will get it easily.
  5. I have not used salt at all, as fish sauce has salt.
  6. With the same ingredients you can make chicken soup with chicken stock or chicken cube(knorr), I sometimes use chicken cube for prawns soup also because of unavailability of prawn stock, it gives you a good taste.
  7. You can use skin of lime instead of lime leaves and if coriander roots are not there can use coriander stems.