≡ Menu

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

6 comments… add one

  • Ron

    Sawasdee khrup, Joy!

    Wow, this sounds good! I think I can make this at home. I grow galanggal and I have kaffir lime, too. I can’t wait.

    Thank you for posting this, Joy!


  • Joy

    Thank you Ron! :) I automatically looked for the “LIKE” button on your comment.
    Then I realized this is my own blog, not facebook.. haha… :)

  • yoko

    This sounds soooo yummy, I am happy to know that I can cook one at home. Thank you for your post.

  • sheela

    Thank you Joy for posting this recipe.
    Can you please let me know which chilli paste I need to use?
    Also please mention which brand name for Tom yum paste?


  • sheela

    Hello Joy,

    Can you please share Thai basil chicken fried rice ?


  • Nithya

    Thanks for posting this recipe..

Leave a Comment