Thai Food Recipe: Tom Yum Gai Tom Yum

Tom Yum Gai (Spicy Sour Chicken Soup)

Tom Yum Gai Tom Yum – Spicy Thai Chicken Soup



1/2 pound chicken breast
1 cup straw mushrooms
1 cup water
1 lemon grass (cut 2 inches)
4-6 kaffir lime leaves
3 small red onions cut into quarters
2 medium to large tomato
2 pieces galangal
2 tbsp. fish sauce
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sugar (optional)
2-8 red and/or green chili peppers
1 tbsp. tom yum soup paste
1/2 cup celery (cut 1 inch)
1/4 cup coriander (cut 1 inch)


Cooking Instructions:

1. Boil 1 cup of water. In boiling water, put peppers, galangal, lemongrass and salt.

2. Put chicken in boiling water and cook for 10 minutes.

3. Add mushroom chili paste and cook it for 5 minutes. Then, put tomato, onion, fish sauce and boil for another 2 minutes. Turn off the fire.

4. Put Chinese celery, kaffir lime leaves and coriander.

For presentation you can garnish with coriander and red chili pepper. Thai people usually eat this with a bowl of rice. They take a spoonful of soup and mix it with their rice or a spoon of rice and dip it into their TOM YUM soup. There are many kinds of Tom Yum Soup – just exchange shrimp, squid, or even pork for the chicken. Enjoy, this is one of Thailand’s favorite dishes.


Note by Vern

Of all the Thai dishes available, you have probably at least tasted tom yum soup – probably with shrimp in it. I first had it around twenty years ago and my mind was opened to the amazing tastes of Thailand in a little restaurant in Clearwater, Florida. When we go to restaurants in Thailand we get the choice to have the thick red soup, or the naam sai – the clear broth. We almost always get the traditional clear broth variety. I can’t even remember the name of the thick orange one. I love it too – but, when I’m paying for it, I guess I want the ultimate – the clear broth tom yum!

Types of Tom Yum Soup:

  • tom yum gai (chicken)
  • tom yum talay (seafood)
  • tom yum goong (shrimp)
  • tom yum moo (pork)
  • tom yum hed (mushroom)
  • vegetarian tom yum – thick with mushrooms, tomatoes, maybe something else

Keep in mind, this is Vern writing this, so I’m sure I’ve missed some. These are the ones I typically see at restaurants and at our home. Grandma likes to make the vegetarian tom yum as she doesn’t eat chicken or beef and maybe not shrimp either.

Tom yum, when it is made correctly is not a completely overpowering taste. You can taste the galangal, the lemongrass, the shrimp. It has salt, but not over salty. The ingredients you cannot eat – are ground up very finely (except the galangal) and usually it sinks to the bottom of the bowl so you don’t get it in your spoon as you eat. The shrimp in Thailand have the tails left on them for some reason. This is a pain because you can either wrestle with removing it from the tail with your fork and spoon, or grab it with your thumb and forefinger and pull with your fork. It’s messy.

Tom yum is really a favorite in Thailand, and every time I’m at a restaurant I see someone eating something with tom yum flavor. There are noodles and other dishes that are made with tom yum seasoning.

Come to Thailand and see what Thai food is really all about!

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Thai Food Recipe: Yum Pla Dook Foo (Fried Catfish in Spicy and Sour Salad)

Yum Pla Dook Foo - Fried Catfish in Spicy and Sour Salad


1 grilled catfish
2 cups vegetable oil
bread crumbs

Salad Mix:
1 handful shredded raw mango
4 tbsp. thinly sliced shallot
6 red chili peppers
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. palm sugar + 1 tbsp hot water
4 cloves garlic
3 coriander roots
2 tbsp. thinly sliced lemongrass

1/2 cup roasted peanut or cashew nuts
1 branch coriander (cut out the root)

Cooking Instructions:

Prepare the fish
Now that we have grilled fish. πŸ™‚ I am going to buy it at Somtam stand near my house to save time. Many Thai people eat their Somtam with grilled catfish. Baking would be ok too I guess. The point is to have the fish meat dry so it will be easier when we fry.

Peel of the skin and bone. Leave its head, middle bone and tail for decoration. Separate the meat. Now, mince the meat finely and then crush it to make sure that the meat will rise beautifully. πŸ˜€

Then, spread the meat on a big plate and let it dry. (If not, the meat will whole vegetable oil too much and won’t rise.)

After that, mix the meat with bread crumbs. (3 tbsp. fish meat/5tbsp. bread crumbs)

Add a little bit of vegetable oil into the bread crumbs mix. This will make the bread stick better to the meat.

Then, heat the pan, add vegetable oil and wait until the the pan get very very hot. Fry the mix in small portion (3/5 as mentioned above). Remove when the mix turn yellow. Place it on top to the fish body which we have already separated from the very first step.

Making salad and spicy sour sauce
Finely crushed chili peppers, garlic and coriander roots altogether. Put it into a big bowl. Add fish sauce, palm sugar, lemon juice and mix well. Taste it the way you like. The way I like must have all 3 tastes balance well together.

Try adding with 1:1:1 (fish sauce: lemon juice: sugar). Keep adding until you get the right taste but start from a very small amount.

Add shredded mango, shallot, roast peanut and mix well. Pour the salad sauce on top of the fried fish and place coriander on the top. You make also decorate it the way you like. πŸ™‚

Thai Food Recipe: Grilled Chicken w/ Lemongrass (Gai Yang Dtakrai)

Grilled Chicken with Lemongrass in Thai, Gai Yang Dtakrai


4 thigh chicken
7 lemongrasses (cut 1 inch)
3 tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp. black pepper
1/3 cup garlic


Cooking Instructions:

1. Crush the lemongrass finely.

2. Then, with black pepper and garlic, we just need to crush it lightly.

3. Now, add soy sauce, light soy sauce, sugar and mix everything very well.

4. With your hand, take a chicken piece and give it a massage in a bowl of mixed ingredients above. Do the same thing with the rest.

5. Leave it in the refrigerator for 3 hours or one night if you are not in a hurry.

6. Grill it on a fire made from wood or use the oven with 180 C for 45 minutes.


Note from Vern

The flavor of lemongrass with the chicken is an amazing combination. You’ll like this recipe regardless if you like other Thai foods because it’s just like a flavored chicken recipe. Try it! Joy makes this recipe really good, but you know what? Don’t tell her, but grandma makes it PERFECT. I love when grandma gets cooking!

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Thai Isaan Food Recipe: Ho Mok Gai Sai

Thai Isaan Food Recipe: Ho Mok Gai Sai No Mai

(Chicken and Bamboo Wrapped with Banana Leaves)


1 cup chicken or fish
5 red onions
4 tbsp. lemongrass cut finely
5 red chili peppers (as many as you like)
4 galingal pieces
1 cup basil (mang luk)
1/2 cup fermented fish juice
2 tbsp. fish sauce
2 cups bamboo
1 and 1/2 cup green leaves juice
3 tbsp. uncooked sticky rice
4 big pieces of banana leaves (12 x 7 inches)
1 cup mushroom
tooth pick (the clean one! please! πŸ™‚

Thai basil, a Thai food ingredient.

Bai ya nang leaves, a Thai food ingredient.

Squeezed bai ya nang juice, a Thai food ingredient.

Cooking Instructions:

1. Ground onions, lemongrass, galingale, and red chili peppers together to make paste.

2. Scrape bamboo with fork. In the pot, mix chicken with the paste from above.

3. Then add shredded bamboo, mushroom, green leave juice, fermented fish juice, fish sauce and
basil. (see the pictures)

4. Turn up the side which has lighter color. Put two leaves together and turn the each soft edges to a different way.

5. Next, add stuff on the leaves and wrap it. (see how to wrap on my cooking video)

6. Stick the leaves together with toothpick.

7. Steam for 20 minutes.

This food is Thai Isaan’s favorite one. I’m so happy my husband loves it. Even when he doesn’t like the food, he ate it all and didn’t complain. πŸ™‚ He’s so cute.

Sawasdee Ka - Joy

Thai Food Recipe: Goong Pad Takrai (Shrimps and Lemongrass Stir Fry)

Goong Pad Takrai (Shrimps and Lemongrass Stir-Fry)


12 big shrimps (peeled, cut, de-veined)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. red chili peppers (slice diagonally)
2 tbsp. minced lemongrass
1 tbsp. fish sauce
1 tbsp. wheat flour
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. oyster sauce
1 tbsp. olive oil


Cooking Instructions:

1. Clean the shrimps very well. Mix it with wheat flour and deep fried in vegetable oil.

2. Remove shrimps from the pan and put them on paper towels.

3. In a different pan, add olive oil and use medium heat. Throw garlic, red chili peppers and minced lemongrass. Stir until it smells aromatic. Then add shrimps, fish sauce, soy sauce and
oyster sauce.

4. Serve with jasmine rice.


I applied this recipe, from a famous menu from my Faculty at Ubon Ratchathani University, called Kamoi Dtub(Pork’s liver and lemongrass stir-fry). All of us love this menu. It made from pork liver, dried red chili peppers, red onion and sweet basil. If any of you are in Ubon, the Liberal Arts’s kitchen is right by ILC building which is opposite to the only pink building there. Everybody there is very sweet. For any of you who don’t like liver, you can add shimps as in the recipe above.

Sawasdee Ka - Joy