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This classic Thai Tom Yum Soup with Shrimp has always been a favorite at our house, but the first time my husband and I made it ourselves was during a Thai cooking class in Bangkok.
We were first treated to a tour through the market where we were able to shop like locals and see all of the exotic fresh ingredients. The whole day was a wonderful experience, made even more so by learning that we could cook all of the things we made that day at home.
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Luckily, my new friends at the Silom Cooking School were willing to give us the recipes, and encouraged us to share them with our readers.
We have slightly adapted their version of their classic Tom Yum Soup recipe and have a few suggestions in case you need to substitute a few ingredients.
Tom Yum Soup Ingredients and Substitutions:
Nam Pric Poa: Nam Pric Poa (or Thai Chile Jam) is available in Asian markets or the ethnic section of your supermarket. If you can’t find it, it can be substituted with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste (or rice wine vinegar).
Lemongrass: Fresh lemongrass stalks add a citrus and herbal aroma and flavor to the soup. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, some grocery stores also stock lemongrass paste or dried lemongrass. If those aren’t available, add some lemon zest to taste.
Kaffir Lime Leaves: Fresh Kaffir lime leaves are frequently used in Thai dishes. It adds a fresh lime flavor that can be substituted by using fried Kaffir lime leaves or a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Straw Mushrooms: Fresh straw mushrooms can be substituted with canned, or another mildly flavored mushroom such as button.
Galangal: Galangal is very similar to ginger. And although the flavor isn’t exactly the same, fresh ginger can be used as a subsitute with good results.
Bird’s Eye Chili Peppers: Thai bird’s eye chili peppers are tiny but very spicy chilies. They can substituted by using Serrano, jalapeño pepper or habanero peppers, or by adding a dash of hot sauce or dried cayenne pepper to taste.
Fish Sauce (Nam Pla): Fish sauce adds a salty and umami element the the soup. If you don’t have any on hand, soy sauce is a good substitute.
Coconut Milk and Stock/Broth: If you are like me, then there are some days when you want a nice light hot bowl of soup in a broth base. Then, there are other days when you crave a creamy soup that is pure comfort food in a bowl. For this recipe, you can vary the creamy coconut milk to broth ratio to make it the perfect blend for your taste.
Here are some additional Asian inspired recipes you might enjoy:
- 4 Medium Sized Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 4 Straw Mushrooms trimmed and cut into quarters (substitute any mushroom of your choice, such as button mushrooms)
- 2 Stalks lemongrass, cut into 2" (5 cm) pieces
- 6 Kaffir lime leaves, torn in half (available in Asian Markets)
- 10 Slices of Galangal (or Fresh Ginger)
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) Thai Fish Sauce - Nam Pla (or Soy Sauce)
- 1 Teaspoon (5 ml) Fresh Lime Juice
- 2 Cups (480 ml) Chicken, Shrimp or Seafood Stock
- 1 Small Tomato, Cut into Quarters
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) Fresh Cilantro Leaves
- 1 Green Onion, Diced
- 1 Tablespoon (7.5 g) Thai Tom Yum Chili Paste (Nam Prik Pao)*
- 4 Tablespoons (60 ml) Coconut Milk
- Optional: Bird's Eye Chilies (chopped) for additional spice, to taste
- Add the lemongrass, ginger, lime leaves, mushrooms, chilies, tomato and chicken stock to a wok or sauce pan on high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the shrimp and cook until tender (2 minutes).
- Add the coconut milk, lime juice, fish sauce and chili paste. Continue to boil until the soup for 3 minutes in order to combine the flavors and reduce the soup.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and green onions and serve immediately.
*Nam Prik Poa is available in Asian Markets. If you cannot find it, substitute with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon of tamarind paste (or rice wine vinegar).
Amount Per Serving Calories 520Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 45mgSodium 2174mgCarbohydrates 82gFiber 10gSugar 26gProtein 31g
Values are estimates only and depend on the ingredients used.
A special thank you to Silom Cooking School who provided the basis for this recipe.