Thai Prawn Soup with Lemongrass, 'Tom Yum Goong'

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Tom Yum is both hot and sour, and it's one of the main signature dishes that defines Thai flavor. We've perfected this recipe and assure you it tastes great.

Typically a chef will use a pork or chicken stock then add the basic fresh staples to create the tom yum, as in our video: Railroad Chef Prepares Tom Yum. We like to start with a simple vegetable broth instead, so our recipe starts with the broth instructions then continues with how to make the tom yum.

It's important to use "prik pao" in your tom yum and we have several brands, with slightly varying tastes depending on your preference.

Also -- See Our Thai Street Vendor Video: Thai Street Vendor Prepares Tom Yum.

Ingredients - Stock

1/2 cup yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup fresh shallot, peeled
3 - 4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 whole fresh kaffir lime, quartered

Method - Stock

Put 18 cups of water into a stock pot, add stock ingredients, cover and simmer for several hours.

Ingredients - Tom Yum

4 cups of your vegetable stock
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, lightly pounded, sliced diagonally
3 small slices fresh galangal (don't add too much galangal)
3 tablespoons fish sauce (more to suit your taste)
3 tablespoons lime juice (more to suit your taste)
3 - 4 straw mushroom or local fresh mushrooms, halved or whole
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, shredded
3 - 4 crushed fresh Thai chile peppers (or more to suit your taste)
2 teaspoons "prik pao" roasted chile in oil
20 large shrimp
Fresh cilantro for garnish


Wash the prawns and shell them without removing the tails. Bring stock broth to a boil. Add lemongrass, galangal, fresh chile, and lime leaves. Bring back to a boil then add mushrooms, fish sauce, prik pao and lime juice. Add prawns. As soon as prawns turn pink (cooked through) serve garnished with cilantro.

A popular variation is to serve tom yum "sai nam kon" which means a spoonful of coconut milk or, many street vendors will add a spoon of evaporated milk. We like tom yum nam kon and enjoy adding tablespoon of our Tom Kha to it.

Note that a popular way to make this dish is with a ready-made tom yum paste or tom yum cubes. has some options for you. Our Instant Tom Yum Paste, is imported from Thailand and a pretty good product for making tom yum but you'll need to adjust some flavors. Add two tablespoons Tom Yum Paste to three cups boiling water, add 1.5 teaspoons salt, add mushrooms and prawns, add 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, add 5-7 Thai chile peppers and onions, and serve garnished with cilantro.

An alternative to Tom Yum Paste is our Tom Yum Cubes or Tom Yum Spice Mix which you can use to make the above soup. These alternatives also add fragrant, delicious Tom Yum flavor to just about any kind of noodles, and both are quite popular in creating "fusion" type Pan-Asian foods blending Thai and western foods.

Serve Tom Yum in Style. "Hot Pot" bowl with lid.


Traditional method of serving all kinds of Thai soups, in particular Tom Yum and Tom Kha. Many Thai restaurants use this pot with a bit of sterno fuel in the bottom tray, as shown below, or use a small tea lite candle at the base to keep the soup hot. Campers have reported that this is a great little pot because it allows easy heating of food at the campground. It's like a little stove.

This is a good size, 24 cm in diameter (10 inches), capacity of 8 cups. Good for restaurant or home use.

Made of relatively thick, sturdy, buffed, shiny aluminum. We're certain you'll love serving soup in this hot pot. The lid has two handles and the side of the pot has handles for ease of use. Made in Thailand.

Prik Pao for Tom Yum

The freshest and most delicious "Prik Pao" you will ever taste. This is the "Yellow Label" that Mae Pranom makes for the local Thai market. It's made specifically for Tom Yum Goong but we find it's great just spooned over freshly steamed rice (then mixed to incorporate the prik pao into all of the rice) or added when making fried rice. We like it as a simple dip for fresh vegetables.

You get 32 oz of prik pao in each can, so this is a large quantity and allows for generous use. On a per-ounce basis, this is less expensive than our 8 oz jar of white label prik pao.

The top opens up like a paint can, just use the handle of a spoon to pry it up. The Prik Pao is packed inside the can, in a modern, strong plastic pouch (see picture below). Just open the pouch and pour it back into the can for storage in your pantry.

Makes a fantastic gift for any Thai person you may know, as this is very rare in USA aside from our shop. We've never seen it offered before outside of Thailand.

Ingredients: sugar, salt, vegetable oil, onion, garlic, dried chilli, dried shrimp, tamarind, shrimp paste. No preservatives. Made in Thailand.

Fresh Tom Yum Kit

At most morning markets in Thailand, and even in local neighborhood 7-11 shops, a "Tom Yum Kit" is sold containing a handful of lemongrass, galangal, chiles, lime leaves, and if you're lucky a lime or two. Sold in a plastic bag, ready to take home and cook up your own tom yum soup.

We have a nice variety of excellent quality fresh Thai herbs shipped to you via 2-3 Day Priority for a really great price. This is a special kit just for tom yum, but you can use these fresh ingredients for so many other Thai recipes as well.

You get stalks of fresh lemongrass, a handful of fresh Thai chiles, fresh lime leaves, a chunk of fresh galangal, and three fresh limes. Click for details.

Thai Street Vendor Video

All of our videos can be found in our Thai Street Vendor Videos section.

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Pat Brookes
April 23rd, 2009
2:34 PM
Thank you for this recipe it sounds wonderfull and when dining out my husband always enjoys this delicious soup thanks you 5* plus
May 18th, 2009
9:31 PM
voici le lemon grass et son site et quelques recettes.. Je t'embrasse bien surprise que je puisse t'apprendre deja "un p'tit quelquechose"?
June 23rd, 2009
12:39 PM
Great video and very helpful! Thank you for helping break down the steps.
August 27th, 2009
5:43 PM
Tom Yum Goong - trop délicieux!!!!!!
September 24th, 2009
7:51 PM
This recipe is absolutely wonderful..!!! My wife and I love this and have it often. The long and short(with paste) version are both delicious. Thanks so so much for this recipe..!!!!
Mary Redfield
October 13th, 2009
5:00 PM
I love Thai food and I have long been a slave to the local Thai restaurants. Last week, I discovered your website while looking for an Asian grocery store on the west side of LA, thinking about attempting to make my favorite Thai soup. I looked at your recipes and watched the street vendor videos. I looked at your products and read the explanations about the uses of various Thai produce, spices and condiments, which would otherwise have been a mystery to me. I placed an order for produce and other ingredients last Wednesday, and received my fresh produce two days later on Friday! I got my spices and condiments on Monday, and today, Tuesday, I made this Tom Yum Goong soup to rival the soup at my favorite Thai restaurant. To say that I am impressed by your service is an understatement! You have made me very happy! I will spread the good word to all my food-loving friends. Thank you.
October 15th, 2009
8:24 PM
I just made this recipe tonight...very good! I added chicken, yummy. Thanks for the recipe
chef rex
February 1st, 2010
7:44 AM
A very good soup
May 18th, 2011
6:14 AM
hello Ppl I love thi food to death loooool< I make this soop at home so well but, how can I make the Tom-Yum Sauce (the same red sauce) of the soup , I have tried many time but maybe you can do it better than me Please send me the ingredient. I also wanna know how to make Cashew Chicken and frychicken rise also.
February 16th, 2012
3:04 AM
wow! my mouth is watering!
May 2nd, 2012
1:01 AM
М-мм... вкуснятина! Обожаю.
January 8th, 2013
9:26 AM
Like many of you, I have had to go to a local Thai place to get this soup. Thank goodness I found this site! I found the ingredients at a local Hartford Asian market (taking pictures of the ingredients image worked well to show the staff) and I made the soup this weekend. It was absolutely delicious! I am so excited to have found this site. Terrific!!
February 14th, 2013
3:57 PM
Great recipe! Real thai ingredients is definitely key (galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, prik pao)

Always turns out just like my favorite Thai restaurant in Baltimore and the kind we had in Thailand - 5 stars.
April 6th, 2013
6:12 PM
Hi looks like a good recipe - but you don't give number of servings
April 9th, 2013
9:53 PM
Awesome recipe! I also added some roughly chopped tomatoes....yum!!! I have it with a side of white rice that i dip into the soup. Better than what I get in the restaurants.
April 20th, 2013
8:25 PM
I just made this soup with my own Prik Pao (recipe from this site) and absolutely love it. I may never dine out again!! The only modification I made was to add Thai Basil because it's so yummy
November 22nd, 2013
10:35 AM
Hi, this recipe looks great. I was wondering how many people this recipe is for, please? Thanks!
March 29th, 2014
4:36 PM
Excellent, many thanks for the instructions on how to use ready made Tom Yum paste, I just made a delicious meal :) I will try making it from scratch next time!
Shima Zainal
March 31st, 2014
3:46 AM
My name is shima from Malaysia , just want you where can i learn cooking resipi thailand. Thank you very mush . If youcan help me. Becouse i plan to open Restoron.

Thank you
June 1st, 2014
8:43 AM
Judging by the cups of stock I would say 4 mains or 6 entree size serves. To make it more substantial I added bok choy and sliced carrots.
Bethica Das
June 30th, 2014
5:32 AM
This soup tastes just heavenly. Best of all soups. Today is the first time I tried it and it came out wonderfully delicious, just like restaurant style. Me and my hubby really enjoyed our afternoon lunch of Tom Yum Soup. Thank you for the recipe.
October 30th, 2014
5:08 AM
Tonight was the first night I made this recipe, but it was a HUG hit, just like all of the other recipes on this site! Thank you for sharing the hints and delicious recipes!
March 19th, 2015
10:20 PM
What kind of prawns has everyone been using?
February 8th, 2016
8:56 AM
whole fresh kaffir lime, quartered , if this correct, certainly you don't leave them in for serving.

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