How to Make Tom Yam Goong (or Hot and Sour Prawn Soup)

Thai style Hot and Sour Soup, a.k.a. Tom Yam Goong, is arguably Thailand’s most popular soup and one of its most popular dishes. Originating in Central Thailand, it spread throughout the country. It is now served at Thai restaurants around the world.

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Tom Yam Goong with giant saltwater prawns at  Yai Yai Kitchen, one of four food and beverage outlets at Proud Phuket, a four-star resort in Southern Thailand. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

Thai Cooking Class

Tom Yam Goong, also spelled Tom Yum Goong, originated in Central Thailand. It is made of stock,  lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, and chili peppers.

Tom means to boil, yam (sometimes spelled yum) means spicy and sour salad, and goong (sometimes spelled kung) means soup.

Tom Yam Goong is noted for its distinctive sour and spicy taste. It can be made with shrimp, prawns, or pork.

If it is made with shrimp or prawns, the seafood is put in after the broth boils. If it is made with pork, the meat is put in before the broth boils

Tom Yam Goong can also be made with chicken or beef.

Cooking Class at Proud Phuket

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Ingredients for my cooking lesson. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

I learned how to make Tom Yam Goong at Yai Yai Kitchen, one of the restaurants at Proud Phuket, where I was hosted for two nights.

When I arrived at Yai Yai Kitchen for my class in Thai cookery, I was escorted to the terrace, where Executive Chef Tangkuay Kwangkaew and an assistant had set up a table with all of the ingredients needed to make three dishes were carefully arranged.

There was also a portable tabletop stove, plates, bowls, cooking utensils,  tissues,  plastic gloves and other items were laid out.

I asked the hotel if they could arrange a photographer so that I could focus on the lesson, and they thoughtfully obliged.

Ingredients

This is what you will need to make the Tom Yam Goong …

For the broth …

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Ingredients for tom yam goong. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The following ingredients are need to make the broth …

  • 60 grams – mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon – roasted chili paste (Mega Chef brand or Squid brand recommended)
  • I piece – lime juice
  • 1 piece – lemongrass (crushed)
  • 20 grams – galingale (crushed)
  • 2 pieces – kaffir lime leaf
  • 20 grams – shallots (cracked)
  • 20 grams tomatoes (cut)
  • 200 milligrams – chicken and prawn stock
  • 1 piece – coriander (for garnish)

Please note, because of their similar appearance, many amateur chefs substitute ginger for galingale if they can’t find galingale in the market. The taste, however, is completely different. If you can’t find galingale, leave it out.

Plus, of Course, the Prawns …

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Uncooked saltwater prawns. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

This dish can be made with prawns, pork, beef, or chicken. We made it with prawns.

  • 200 grams – sea prawns

And, of course, the Chili Paste …

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Ingredients for paste used in Thai cookery. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The following ingredients are needed to make this dish (not all of the ingredients pictured were used for the paste); we prepared two other dishes during the lesson.

  • 10 grams – dry red chili (large)
  • 1/3 clove – garlic, (peeled and sliced)
  • 20 grams – shallots peeled and sliced
  • 1 bit – vegetable oil
  • Roast all ingredients and mix them in a mortar or food processor to turn it into a paste.

The Method …

This is how it’s done …

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Simmering the broth for tom yam goong. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.
  1. Bring stock to a simmer.
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Here I am (left) watching Executive Chef Tangkuay Kwangkaew slicing the lemongrass.

2. Add the galingale, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, mushrooms, and roasted chili paste.

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Simmering the broth for tom yam goong after the prawns have been added. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

3. Boil for three to four minutes. Add fish sauce and sea prawns.

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Here I am (left) watching Executive Chef Tangkuay Kwangkaew. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

4. Turn off the flame and add lime juice, garnish with coriander leaf, and serve.

The Verdict …

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Here I am sampling a large saltwater prawn. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

This version of Tom Yam Goong was delicious, and I will definitely try making it at home.

When I do, however, I will consider making a couple of adjustments.

While I know it is traditional to leave the heads and shells on shellfish in many Thai dishes, I don’t really like having to “play” with my food, especially when it comes to soup. I would therefore prefer to remove them.

The same goes for the lemongrass, galingale, and kaffir leaf. I know that most chefs carefully add them to individual soup bowls when serving soup – as a sort of “garnish” – but I don’t care for this either.

I would carefully strain the broth, removing the inedible bits, and returning to the bowl only that which could be consumed.

Yai Yai Kitchen

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The breakfast buffet at Yai Yai Kitchen at the Proud Phuket, a hotel in southern Thailand. Photo Credit: Accidental Travel Writer.

The class was held on the terrace of Yai Yai Kitchen, overlooking the swimming pool at the Proud Phuket hotel.

One of four food and beverage outlets at the hotel, the eatery serves an international breakfast buffet in the morning and Thai dishes for lunch and dinner.

Want to Know More?

If you try making this dish at home, please let me know how it turned out and photo would also be appreciated!

Where

Yai Yai Kitchen – Proud Phuket, 135 Soi Naiyang 2, Naiyang Beach,, Saku, Thalang, Chang Wat, Phuket, Thailand.

 

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