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January 31, 2011

Quick and easy Thai hot and sour shrimp soup (tom yom koong) recipe

Quick and easy Thai hot and sour soup

The world divides in many ways. Chocolate or vanilla? Chili with beans, or chili with no beans? When you dine at a Thai restaurant, do you order chicken coconut soup (tom ka gai) or hot and sour shrimp soup (tom yom koong)? I'm a tom yom girl. Here's a super quick and easy version of my favorite Thai soup, the version I toss together when the craving strikes, as it often does. Authentic spices and condiments make all the difference, especially when you're adapting a more complex soup for quick-and-easy cooking, so it's worth a visit to an Asian market to stock your pantry with sambal oelek and fish sauce (I always recommend the Three Crabs brand). And if you have even the hint of a cold, make a batch of this soup right away. It has defeated every sniffle I've ever had.

Quick and easy Thai hot and sour shrimp soup (tom yom koong)

Serves 4 as a starter; can be doubled.


2 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock, or mushroom stock
1/2 lb medium shrimp (31-40 size, or whatever you have), raw with the shells on
1/2 tsp sambal oelek, or to taste
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp lime zest plus the juice of 1/2 lime
1 Tbsp fish sauce
A few cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)


In a sauce pan, simmer the stock and shrimp for 10 minutes. Remove the shrimp and set aside to cool slightly. Add the sambal oelek, mushrooms, a tiny bit of the lime zest, half of the lime juice, and the fish sauce to the pot, and continue to simmer. Peel the shrimp and return them to the pot. After 30 seconds, remove the pot from the heat.

Taste, and adjust seasoning to your taste with more lime juice or sambal. Ladle into individual bowls, and top with the remaining lime zest and (optional) cilantro leaves.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: jinhwafication | January 31, 2011 at 05:15 PM

This looks so yummy...perfect for wintery night like today. Gotta try this. Thanx!

Posted by: Kalynskitchen | January 31, 2011 at 05:58 PM

I like Tom Ka and Tom Yom both! This is definitely something I'd love.

Posted by: Alta | February 1, 2011 at 06:13 AM

I think hubby and i need this to knock this bug we have!

Posted by: Lydia | February 1, 2011 at 08:37 AM

Jin, this soup is the perfect antidote to winter!

Kalyn, I like both soups, but I'm quite partial to this one. In fact, I've been known to go to our local Thai restaurant, and just order two large bowls of this soup as my meal.

Alta, I promise, it will work. It has never failed me. (Hope you and hubby feel better soon.)

Posted by: T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types | February 1, 2011 at 09:01 AM

I love this - restorative "chicken soup" for the home cook!

Posted by: Jazzmin9 | February 4, 2011 at 10:46 PM

This was my first try and it came out just....perfect. I followed the recipe verbatim, then added 1/2 a tablespoon of chopped lemongrass a couple of minutes before removing it from the stove. Outstanding!!!

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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