Tom yam soup

Tom yam soup


I think it fair to say that food, alcohol and various states of inertia are the excesses which typically define the festive season.  And what’s more, to resist this trinity of evils it requires ineffable levels of self-control not conceivably mustered at this time of year.  So once the weeks of gluttony and sloth-like behaviour pass (which eventually they will out of necessity) you will be overwhelmed with a desire to administer untold doses of fruit and vegetables and to purge the cupboards of the evidence of the weeks passed.

So when the withdrawal symptoms begin to kick-in and the cravings start playing on your conscience let this soup be your holy grail.  Light, fresh and full of flavour it will sate your hunger and satisfy your cravings and is guaranteed to keep the guilt at bay.


serves 4 as an entrée
1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
4 lemon leaves
2 long stalks lemongrass, finely sliced
2 litres chicken stock
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 lime, juiced
5 mushrooms, cut into 8
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
2 spring onions, finely sliced
¼ cup coriander


1. Saute the onions until soft then add the chilli, lemongrass and lemon leaves and fry for a further minute.
2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and cook for a further minute.
4. Divide the soup between 4 bowls and garnish with spring onions and coriander.

8 thoughts on “Tom yam soup”

  • I used to get this a lot when I was a student. Tasty, healthy and with a bowl of rice on the side, very filling.

    I have the same fish sauce but I always add prawn or chicken and server with rice to soak up that tasty tasty broth. But then it would be a meal, not a starter!

    Like your recipe, I’m used to this having tomatoes in it for colour and flavour. But when I had this dish in Thailand, it often didn’t include tomatoes. Do you think tomatoes are a western addition?

  • Hi Genie,
    I am glad you like Tom Yam as much as I do! I recently made a sweet and sour soup (if I recall correctly it was adapted from a soup recipe from Sri Lanka) which I enjoyed with rice to make a complete meal. It was delicious so next time I will remember to serve this with rice if I want a complete meal. I did use tomatoes in this one too – I just halved wee cherry tomatoes and added them towards the end of the cooking.
    Have a lovely week,

  • This sduons soooo good. I’m marking it to try on a rainy day, for some reason I just think this would make me feel better instantly!

  • Hi Jordyn,
    Thanks for your message. It certainly is the kind of soup which makes you feel better – a bit of a soul cleanser!
    Happy Cooking!

  • First tried this ”Soul Cleanser” at a roadside shack not too far from the ‘Death Railway’ Station in Ratchaburi Province Thailand about 7 yrs ago.
    I make this now and then for us and it never fails to send those endorphins into overdrive! Straight back to that shack everytime 🙂

    Usually knocked together from memory, but having just found this whicked site, so impressed…I am going to use your recipe for the next batch.

    P.S Recently discovered ‘Sugar Drop’ Tomatoes…now then…!!

  • Hi Stephen,
    There really is something magic about Tom Yam soup isn’t there! I love it how food and taste can instantly transport too!
    I hope that this soup lives up to your memory of it 7 years ago in Thailand – let me know what you think of it!
    Happy cooking!

  • Hi Christina,
    Isn’t it funny how spellings vary depending on where you are in the world. I’ve not seen it spelt Thom Yum before!
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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