Tom Yum Gung ต้มยำกุ้ง

Tom Yum Gung (Thai: ต้มยำกุ้ง) is a delicious clear, sour and spicy Thai soup with shrimps and mushrooms. In fact, literally translated ‘Tom yum’ (ต้มยำ) means ‘salad soup’. This might seem strange at first sight but in fact the soup has the exact same seasoning ingredients as the salad. Thus, ‘Tom yum’ is derived from two Thai words, namely “tom” and “yam”. “Tom” (ต้ม) refers to the boiling process, while “yam” (ยำ) refers to a kind of Thai spicy and sour salad.

Since Tom Yam Gung is very popular in Thailand, it may also be called the Thai ‘national soup’. In fact, there are many different and slight variations of Tom Yam Kung. The recipe here is based on my conclusion of the diversity of recipes for this soup.  

Tom Yum Gung Soup Recipe

tom yum gung

Tom Yum Gung (photo credit: Jens Timmermann)


  • approx. 10-15 fresh shrimps, or optional deep-frozen shrimps
  • 3-4 oyster mushrooms or champignon mushrooms
  • 1/2 galangal which is also known as Siamese ginger
  • 2 red onions or shallots
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass
  • 1-2 salad onions
  • juice from 1-2 lemons
  • kaffir lime leaves
  • coriander/cilantro & its roots
  • 2-3 fresh chillies (as you prefer)
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1-2 TSP chili paste (Thai: น้ำพริกเผา “nam prik pau”)
  • 2-3 TSP fish sauce
  • 3-4 TSP soy sauce
  • optional small tomatoes
  • optional coconut milk


Heat 1 litre of the vegetable or chicken stock. Prepare the lemon grass by cutting off the dry top and bottom, and remove the dry layer. Smash your stalk of lemon grass with the back of your knife because this releases the flavour. Then cut the lemon grass into 1-2 inch pieces. Wash and cut the roots (2-3 pieces) of the coriander and chop them. Cut the galangal into thin slices (2-3mm). Put these ingredients into the stock and add the fresh shrimps and 5-6 kaffir lime leaves. Let it cook. Then add approx. 1-2 TSP of the chili paste but be careful because sometimes chili pastes can be very sweet. Wash the fresh chilies and remove the green top. Press on the chilies with your knife and put them into the stock. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Then add your mushrooms and tomatoes if you like. Finally season your soup with some fish sauce, lime juice and soy sauce. Add the salad onions and let everything simmer for a moment. You may want to decorate your soup with coriander and you’re ready to serve!

Here’s how to prepare this soup visually, very comprehensively explained by Pailins Kitchen. I also have a recipe for preparing the soup with beef. Please check this out here.

Enjoy your meal! Yours, Sirinya

(P.S. if you’re looking for a German version on how to prepare Tom Yum Gung, click here please, for general information about Thai dishes, check out my Dictionary)