Real Tom Yum Soup with Coconut Milk ("Tom Khaa")

Tom Yum Soup
Tom Yum Soup, soothing, uplifting, perfection!. Taken by D. Schmidt for About.com
    30 min
Ratings (17)

Do you know anyone who doesn't love Tom Yum soup? Aside from being the most famous of all Thai soups, Tom Yum offers many health benefits, due to its potent combination of herbs and spices. In fact, this Thai soup is currently under scientific study, as it appears to have immune-boosting power as a natural remedy for cold and flu viruses. In this version of the soup, I've included coconut milk (officially "Tom Khaa") which I find adds both richness and flavor while still keeping the soup super healthy. Enjoy!

What You'll Need

  • 3-4 cups chicken stock (this makes enough soup to serve 2 people)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, lower 1/3 finely minced (for instructions on how to prepare lemongrass, see link)
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves (available fresh or frozen at Asian food stores)
  • 12-14 medium or large raw shrimp, shelled
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1-2 small red chilies, minced or ½ tsp. dried crushed chili (to taste)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • optional: a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • generous handful fresh shiitake mushrooms sliced thinly
  • 1 green and/or red bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ can coconut milk (add more or less to taste)
  • ⅓ cup fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • optional: additional red chilies, or Nam Prik Pao Chili Sauce (1-2 tsp.)
  • optional: 1 tsp. brown sugar, and a squeeze of lime juice

How to Make It

  1. Pour stock into a deep cooking pot and turn heat to medium-high. Add prepared lemongrass to the pot, including upper parts of the stalk you didn't mince. Boil 5 to 6 minutes, or until fragrant.
  2. Reduce heat slightly to achieve a nice simmer. Add garlic, chili, lime leaves, and mushrooms to broth. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes (if using). Simmer 5-6 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and plump.
  4. Turn down the heat to low and add 1/2 can coconut milk plus fish sauce. Test-test the soup for spice and salt, adding more chili and/or fish sauce (instead of salt) as desired. If too sour for your taste, add 1 tsp. brown sugar; if too salty, add a squeeze of lime juice. Add more coconut milk if you want your soup richer/creamier, or if it's too spicy for your taste.
  5. Serve in bowls with fresh coriander sprinkled over. Enjoy!! (See below for more variations on this recipe.)

Variations: