Tom Yam Gung

Hot & Sour Shrimp Soup

A subtle blend of hot and sour with citrus overtones, tom yam gung (aka goong, kung) is the most famous of all Thai soups. Each region has its own particular variation of the recipe.


  • 8 oz (250 g) shrimp/prawns, shelled and deveined, with shellsreserved
  • 3 cups (24 fl oz/750 ml) water
  • 2 garlic cloves (kratiem), minced
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves (bai ma-good)
  • 3 thin slices fresh or dried galangal (kha)
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 2 stalks lemon grass/citronella (ta-krai), lower 1/3 portiononly, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) lengths
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced straw mushrooms
  • 5 green Thai chili peppers (prik khee noo), optional
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon black chili paste (nam prik pow)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro/coriander leaves (bai pak chee)


1. Rinse the prawn shells and place them in a large pot with the water. Heat to boiling, strain the broth and discard the shells.
2. Add the garlic, lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce, lemon grass and shallots to the stock, then the mushrooms and chili peppers, if using. Cook gently for 2 minutes.
3. Add the shrimp to the soup, and reheat to boiling. When the shrimp are cooked, place the lime juice and black chili paste in a serving bowl. Pour the soup into the bowl, stir, garnish with the cilantro leaves, and serve. SERVES 4