Tom Yum Soup

I used crayfish for my tom yum soup. What protein would you add to your version?

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Many, many years ago I worked in a restaurant in Rivonia, Sandton. After work, all the restaurant workers from a lot of the local places would gather at a bar for after work drinks. One of our early night choices was a place called the White House. It was festive and the bar was separate from the restaurant. Every now and then I would eat at the restaurant which served Thai cuisine. I have no idea how authentic the food was and my favourite meal has never appeared on any other menu at any other Thai place I have frequented. However, it was here that my love of Thai food began, and I will cook a Thai curry before any other curry as I love the balance of citrus to sour and hot that Thai food has to offer. When we went to Grootbos we had tom yum soup as one course of our dinner.

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I enjoyed it so much that I decided to make it at home. When researching Tom Yam soup as it is called in my book food and travels Asia I discovered that Tom Yum refers to a broth made with fragrant herbs and is characterized by the hot and sour flavours. Goong or Kung refers to the version we had at Grootbos, which is served with prawns. We did not have any prawns in the freezer and so I used crayfish instead. You could use chicken / gai or kai as the protein and if you add coconut milk to it you must call the broth Tom Yam Nam Khon. I loved the aromatics of this broth and for my friends who are doing the 5:2 diet, I am sure it will fit in with your eating regime if you use a mixture of seafood – Tom Yum Po Taek or pork Tom Yam Kha Mu. No matter what, I am sure you will enjoy this tom yum soup as much as we did.


Tom Yum Soup
Tom Yum Soup

Thai information sourced from Wikipedia

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Tom Yum Soup

Recipe Category: Soup
Makes enough for: 2 people
All Rights Reserved: Adapted from food and travels Asia page 99


  • 750 mls chicken stock
  • 4 small spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cm root ginger, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and thinly sliced
  • 4 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 8 slices tinned bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
  • 20 mls fish sauce
  • 1 lime, cut in half
  • 5 mls grated palm sugar
  • 2 chillies, split in half
  • 2 crayfish tails, cut into chunks
  • 3 small tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped


  • Place the stock into a large pot and add the spring onions
  • Place the ginger into a spice bomb and bring to the boil
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for an hour
  • Remove the spice bomb and add the lemongrass and lime leaves
  • Add back to the stock together with the bamboo shoots
  • Simmer for 10 minutes and then add 10mls fish sauce, the juice of half the lime, 2.5mls palm sugar and the chillies
  • Simmer for 5 minutes and then add the crayfish
  • Simmer for 5 minutes to cook the crayfish
  • Remove the spice bomb and add the tomatoes, the rest of the fish sauce, and the rest of the palm sugar if you think it's necessary
  • Remove from the heat and add the juice of the other half of the lime
  • Garnish with coriander and serve with [balachaung|} if you want an enhanced shrimp paste flavour
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29 thoughts on “Tom Yum Soup

  1. Tom Yum soup is one of my favourite flavours. I haven’t eaten in in a long time as I never get round to making it and there’s a shortage (meaning none) of Thai restaurants around me in France.

  2. Tandy, I adore tom yum, but I’ve never seen a version with crayfish in it! How flash! 🙂 It sounds delicious!

    1. It is because we don’t have prawns at the moment! I am so sure you could use the lovely seafood you get in Sydney for this 🙂

  3. One of my very favourite soups also and you do have a lovely recipe! I have made it with all the proteins you mention and sometimes a pair at the same time: I guess chicken and pork would be my preferences and I must admit coconut milk has entered the equation! Oh, do wish I was at a streetstall in Thailand to get the real McCoy!

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