This quick tom yum soup recipe with prawns is a great choice for a delicious spicy lunch or dinner. It's easy to adapt too. Why not make it without prawns?Or just add noodles or rice to make it more filling!
So, what is tom tum soup? It's an aromatic Thai soup that's hot and sour and full of exotic spicy flavours. It's fairly light so it makes a great starter. But if you want it to be a main meal you can add noodles.
I've used tom yum paste to make this soup as that makes it quick and easy enough for a midweek lunch or dinner. Tom yum paste is spicy, salty and sweet. It's a really easy way of adding loads of flavour without having to use too many ingredients. It contains soy bean oil, lemongrass, tamarind, red chillies, garlic, lime, sugar, salt, shallots, kaffir lime and galangal.
You may not think of Thai soups like this being especially family-friendly but if your kids love a bit of heat like mine do, then it's a great one for them too. And if you want to make it hotter, add some birds eye chilli peppers!
I've added prawns to this tom yum soup. I use frozen prawns straight from the freezer but feel free to add chicken if you prefer. You can also make it vegetarian by using tofu.
Ingredient notes for tom yum soup
To make this spicy Thai soup you'll need:
- Cooking oil - Use a fairly neutral vegetable oil or coconut oil.
- Garlic cloves - I love fresh garlic sliced thinly for this and often use more than two cloves if I'm feeling in the mood for extra garlic.
- Ginger - I also like to use fresh ginger as I think it adds a bit more flavour than ginger paste or puree. However, you can substitute it for a paste if that is all you have.
- Tomato - I just use an ordinary salad tomato. Some recipes ask you to remove the seeds and skin first but I'm quite happy to leave them in.
- Mushrooms - If you can get oyster mushrooms or other Asian mushrooms then feel free to use them. They can be hard to fine and more expensive so I generally use button mushrooms. They are the mildest mushrooms and still work well. After all, the flavour is in the broth.
- Stock - I used vegetable stock but you can use chicken stock too.
- Tom yum paste - Using tom yum paste is the reason why this soup packs lots of flavour but without taking too long to make and without using too many ingredents. If you love tom yum soup then it's worth getting some.
- Soft brown sugar - I always have soft brown sugar in the cupboard and it is the closest alternative to palm sugar, which is what would be used in a traditional tom yum soup. If you have palm sugar then definitely feel free to use that instead.
- Fish sauce
- Prawns - I like to use king prawns. For this recipe I used cooked frozen prawns and they can be added straight from the freezer. There's no need to defrost first. However, you can add raw prawns instead.
- Coriander leaves - Stir a few coriander leaves in at the end if you like coriander! You can also add more to garnish.
- Lime - I like to squeeze a little lime juice over when serving. It brings out the sour side of the soup.
How to make Thai tom yum soup
This soup is really quick and easy to make as it uses tom yum paste. First of all just heat a little oil in a large saucepan and stir fry the garlic and ginger. When they begin to crisp up, add the tomato and mushrooms. Stir fry for a few more minutes and then add the stock, tom yum paste and brown sugar.
Bring to the boil and then simmer for a couple of minutes. Then add the prawns and simmer for another couple of minutes. Season with the fish sauce and stir in most of the coriander leaves.
Serve with lime wedges and extra coriander leaves as a garnish.
Can you adapt the recipe?
Yes of course. There are lots of ways to adapt this recipe. Something I often do is add noodles as they make it into a main meal. Otherwise it's more of an appetiser.
If you are not a fan of prawns you can add chicken instead. Alternatively you can make it vegan by adding tofu and replacing the fish sauce with a little soy sauce.
What can you serve with tom yum soup?
Tom yum soup is often served with prawn crackers on the side or with sticky rice. Either of these are a great way of making it more filling if you're having it as a main meal.
As I've already mentioned, serving tom yum soup with rice noodles is another option.
Tom Yum Soup
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp ginger cut into batons
- 1 tomato diced
- 200 g mushrooms sliced
- 1 ltr stock I used chicken stock but you can use fish or vegetable stock instead
- 2 tablespoon tom yum paste Check the serving suggestion as different brands can vary in the quantities needed.
- 2 teaspoon soft brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce or a little extra to taste
- 1 lime to serve
- 200 g prawns
- 15 g coriander leaves roughly chopped
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and when it is hot, add the ginger and garlic. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add the mushrooms and tomatoes. Continute to stir fry for another 2 minutes.
- Pour in the stock and then stir in the tom yum paste and brown sugar.
- Bring the soup up to the boil then lower to a simmer and stir in the prawns. Let them simmer for a couple of minutes and then add the fish sauce, most of the coriander and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Taste and add extra fish sauce or lime juice if necessary. Serve topped with a little more coriander and a wedge of lime.
More recipes you might like
If you like this tom yum soup then do try one of my other soup recipes:
Do also check out this round up post of soup recipes with lots more soup inspiration!
Keep in touch
Do let me know if you make this tom yum soup recipe. I love to get feedback from readers.