Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tom Yum Goong

This incomparable Thai soup requires a trip to your local Asian market, but after that initial effort, it's quick to prepare.

Tom Yum Goong is a magical soup.  It soothes.  It warms.  It invigorates.  I have theories as to why this is so, but it's more satisfying just to enjoy the soup than to talk about it.

Thanks to Michele, the lemon grass is local!  She gave me a lemongrass start which I am nurturing indoors this winter and will set out in Spring.  Lime leaves, lemon grass and tamarind freeze quite well, so keep some on hand to make this soup when you need it most! 


There is room for you to alter this recipe to suit your tastes, but do be careful of the broth-to-seasonings ratio.  I combined many recipes and adjusted until I found perfection. 

1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup Thai fish sauce
2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste

6 cups Oriental or chicken stock
4 cloves crushed or chopped garlic
8 kaffir lime leaves
15 inches of lemon grass, cut into 3-inch lengths
8 slices galangal or ginger
1/4 cup tamarind paste (if it has seeds, soak paste in water and strain into soup)
2 cups regular coconut milk (not "lite")

2 cups mushrooms, quartered
2 cups cabbage, cut in 1-inch chunks
2 cups broccoli, separated into florets

12 ounces tail-on shrimp, thawed or fresh
2 medium tomatoes, cut in wedges

Green onion and cilantro to garnish

Combine lime juice, fish sauce and curry paste in small bowl.

Bring stock to boil.  Add garlic, lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal or ginger, tamarind paste and coconut milk.  Boil for 3 minutes.

Add mushrooms, cabbage and broccoli.  Boil for another 3 to 5 minutes until vegetables begin to be tender.

Add shrimp and tomatoes.  Cook just until shrimp turn pink.

Stir in fish sauce mixture.  Serve in bowls.  Top each bowl with green onion and cilantro.  If you like, you can swirl in more curry paste before garnishing, to raise the spice-heat level in individual bowls.

Makes 6 large or 8 smaller servings.


  1. What's your favorite asian market in the area? I've been to a few, but haven't found one with a great selection yet.

  2. I like Columbia Oriental Market at 1821 Cartmell in Pasco, or the Golden Grocers at 5600 W. Clearwater in Kennewick. There's another Asian grocery in Uptown Richland, next to Octopus' Garden. I think Golden Grocers would be my favorite in terms of pleasant shopping atmosphere. But the one in Pasco might have more selection.