Recipe: Tom Yum Soup – The Cookbook Challenge Week 21 ‘Thai’ theme

by April@MyFoodTrail on April 15, 2010

in Asian, Cookbook Challenge 2010, Cooking, Recipes, Soups

Theme: Thai
Cookbook: In the Kitchen by Allan Campion & Michele Curtis

I don’t have any dedicated Thai cookbooks so I had to think about which cookbook to look through for a Thai theme recipe. I’ve had the ‘In the Kitchen’ cookbook for a while but haven’t used it yet so I decided my Thai recipe was going to come from there. With the advertised over 1000 recipes in the cookbook, I was sure I would find at least one Thai recipe.

We moved into our current place over a year ago but Miss NR & Mr NB couldn’t make it our housewarming and have yet to come around. Our schedules just never aligned so the last time we saw them, we made it a point to look in a lunch date at our house. I thought I could knock over this week’s Cookbook Challenge by making something for lunch.

I chose to make a tom yum soup for the starter. I’ve never made it before and it’s not something I order at a restaurant because it’s normally either too spicy or too sour. The beauty of homemade food is that you can adjust the seasoning to suit your tastes.

The soup actually cheats by using instant tom yum paste, but there is an addition of fresh herbs, fish sauce, chicken stock and lime juice, which in hindsight isn’t that necessary if bottled tom yum paste is used. The original recipe calls for sliced chicken breast which is marinated in the tom yum paste but as Miss NR doesn’t eat meat, I used seafood instead. The recipe below is how I made it.

Tom yum soup
Serves 4

TCC - Tom Yum Soup - Finished

8 prawns, deveined & shelled with tails intact
4 scallops (without roe)
500ml (2 cups) chicken stock
500ml (2 cups) water
2 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
3 spring onions, chopped
1 lemon grass stem, thinly sliced
3 small brown onions, thinly sliced
4 coriander stems & roots, chopped *
1 tbsp shaved palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp tom yum paste
2 tbsp lime juice
Coriander leaves to garnish

* Coriander with the roots attached are available at Asian grocery stores. Chop from the root all the way up the stem, stopping at the leaves.

1. Place stock and water in a large saucepan. Add lime leaves, spring onions, lemon grass, onions, coriander, palm sugar and fish sauce.

TCC - Tom Yum Soup - Method 1

All the fresh herbs in the saucepan; Penta instant tom yum soup paste

2. Bring to the boil over a medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

3. Add lime juice and tom yum paste and simmer for a further 15 minutes.

TCC - Tom Yum Soup - Method 2

Adding the tom yum paste; Straining the herbs from the soup

4. Strain herbs from soup and return to saucepan and continue to simmer. Check seasoning.

5. Add in prawns first for a minute before adding the scallops and cook for two minutes until scallops and prawns are just cooked.

6. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Overall: The tom yum soup was enough for four small bowls. I actually added about half a cup of water towards the end and still I found the soup overly potent. It is jam packed with flavour but gets difficult to drink after half a bowl. It could have done with a bit more lime juice to help cut through the flavour. Everyone enjoyed the soup but agreed it needed to be diluted more. The tom yum paste I used was not spicy at all which was good for me. If you prefer more of a chilli kick, you can buy a hot tom yum paste.

The fresh herbs cooking with the chicken stock smelt so much like pho, the Vietnamese noodle soup. I’m going to try using the recipe to make a noodle soup next time leaving out the tom yum paste and lime juice.

Would I make it again? Yes, but I would dilute the soup with another cup of water during the cooking process and add an extra tablespoon of lime juice.

Over & Out, April xx

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

penny aka jeroxie April 16, 2010 at 12:02 am

Tom yum suits the weather that we are having now…. now I need to find that paste! much easier 😉


Conor @ HoldtheBeef April 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm

This reminds me that I have an excellent tom yum recipe that I haven't made for years, I should fish it out for a retry.

Lucky friends coming over for your cooking!


Celeste @ Berrytravels April 16, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Tom Yum makes for a fantastic starter too. Really opens up the appetite. Perfect for the current cold weather, I agree with Penny! Have to go find that paste.


vickys April 16, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Tom yum has got to be one of my hell-heaven favourites. Hell because I'm so bad at taking spicy food, heaven because it's just such an explosion of flavour and texture. 🙂 I must say, all those ingredients that you drained off ,must've imparted a whack load of yummy flavour!


Hannah April 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I'm a sucker for Tom Yum – love its sour spicy punch! I've never made it myself, though, so you're one step ahead of me! 😛

Reply April 17, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I love, love, love Tom Yum soup but never make it home as I figure I could never do it justice. I might need to give it a try now.


Ange April 17, 2010 at 6:30 pm

I think I need to add a tom yum to my Winter soup rotation, they are so delicious


Adrian @ Food Rehab April 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I'm very much the same when it comes to tom yum. Come to think of it, the only spicy soup I order is a laksa- mainly due to the coconut milk!

Props for making it to your liking


Clare @ Mrs Multitasker April 19, 2010 at 12:50 am

You are brave for trying it!
I love Thai food but find it just much too troublesome to make most of the time because you need sooo many different spices! =)
Hope you're doing well A


Forager May 10, 2010 at 11:09 am

Ooh, it's perfect winter fare! Yours looks great!

I've had similar experiences – I find many tom yum recipes or preparations a little too intense and really limits the amount I can slurp down.


April @ My Food Trail May 28, 2010 at 10:18 am

Hi Penny: I got it from one of the bigger Asian grocers on Victoria St, but any Asian grocer should sell a good quality tom yum paste.

Hi Conor: Nothing beats a home made tom yum soup that you can tweak to your liking!

Hi Celeste: I never thought of it as opening up the appetite! I'm glad it did though!

Hi vickys: If you make it yourself at home, you can always control the heat, like I did since I can't take spicy food!

Hi Hannah: You'll have to try making it yourself since you love it so much!

Hi Leigh: Good luck with it! You can do the cheats version by buying the ready made paste and adding stock!

Hi Ange: Winter is the perfect time for a soup like tom yum!

Hi Adrian: Now you've got me thinking of creamy laksa soup! Damn! 🙂

Hi Clare: Thanks! This wasn't too bad… just the herbs and a good quality tom yum paste was all that was needed!

Hi Forager: Thanks! The intense flavour means you can't have much, but what you do have really packs a punch!


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