The Thai Tom Yam soup is the most popular Thai national dish. This delicious soup combines spicy, sweet, salty and sour flavors and lets you feel as if you are in Thailand for real. Galangal, lemon grass, lime leaves and fresh cilantro give this soup its typical aromatic taste. The combination of spicy chili and sour lime juice makes the taste unique.
This spicy soup with a slightly sour note is offered everywhere in Thailand. Unfortunately, the original recipe uses shrimp and fish sauce. But during our Thailand vacation in 2019 we ate the Tom Yam soup in many vegan restaurants in Thailand. Georg even declared this soup to be his favorite dish. We then learned how to cook it ourselves while we did a cooking course at the vegan cooking school of Mai Kaidee in Chiang Mai.
Thai Tom Yam soup is super healthy
The Tom Yam soup is low in calories and the chili stimulates your digestion. It also contains lots of fresh vegetables. So it’s perfect for a healthy, low calorie diet. The ingredients can also be varied, depending on what vegetables you have in the house. Whether you use mushrooms, mini corncobs, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers, mangetouts, green beans – just take your favorite vegetables.
The list of ingredients for the Tom Yam soup appears to be very long and complicated at first glance. But the soup is easy to boil and the preparation takes only minutes. Even the homemade spicy chili paste is prepared in the mixer in an instant.
The secret of Tom Yam soup
The secret of the original Thai tom yam soup lies in this freshly made chili paste. It consists of chilies, carrots, garlic and onions, which are seared in the wok and then crushed. In Thailand, they use a mortar made of stone. At home I just use a strong food processor or blender. It’s really fast and easy. But if you are in a rush: you can also buy ready-made Tom-Yam chili paste in the Asian market or online. But fresh homemade chili paste tastes 100 times better, I promise!
Where to get the ingredients for Tom Yam soup
The only challenge in preparing the Tom Yam soup is to get your hands on all the necessary ingredients. You will find all the ingredients fresh, dried or frozen in the Asian market. If you do not have an Asian market nearby, you can find the ingredients in some well-stocked supermarkets in the Asian/Deli section. As a last resort, you can of course also order the ingredients online.
By the way, lemongrass, galangal and lime leaves are only seasoning ingredients and cannot be eaten. In Thailand they stay in the soup and are picked out during the meal and put aside.
If you like this recipe, you may also like the other recipes we have brought from Thailand, such as the spicy papaya salad, the fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce, the mild aromatic Massaman curry or the Tom Kah Soup. If you have tried one of our recipes, then please leave us a comment and tell us how you liked it. We look forward to receiving your feedback.
Thai Tom Yam Soup
- 700 ml water
- 4 slices galangal alternatively ginger
- 1 stem lemongrass
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 carrot
- 1 tomato
- 1 onion
- 100 g tofu
- 200 g mixed vegetables e.g. mushrooms, cabbage, peppers, broccoli …
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp cane sugar
- 4 tsp Tom Yam chili paste
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 4 tbsp coconut milk
- 2 spring onions
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)
- Assemble all ingredients.
- Cut galangal, carrot and spring onion into thin slices. Cut lemongrass into 3 cm (1 inch) long pieces. Dice tomatoes and tofu. Cut vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Chop coriander.
- Bring water to a boil in a wok. Add galangal, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, vegetables and tofu.
- While everything is boiling, add soy sauce and sugar. When the vegetables are soft, turn down the heat. The water should not have evaporated completely yet.
- Add another cup of water and the Tom Yam chili paste, lime juice and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then season to taste.
- Fill in soup bowls. Top with spring onions and cilantro. Serve and enjoy.
Tom Yam Chili Paste
- ½ cup rapeseed oil or sunflower oil
- ½ cup grated carrot
- ½ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped garlic
- ½ cup dried chillies
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce*
- Put the oil in a wok or pan and fry the carrot, onion and garlic until the carrot is soft and the garlic is brown. Then add the dried chillies and roast again for about 3 minutes.
- Add sugar, lime juice and soy sauce and stir well. Fry for 2 more minutes together.
- Place the contents of the wok in a blender and mix until the consistency of a solid paste is reached.
- Fry the paste again for 2 minutes over medium heat in the wok. The paste should now have a dark red, almost black color.
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