Tom Yum Soup

***I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy. A lot has changed since I first wrote and scheduled this post a few weeks ago. It was a much different world we lived in. With the new reality of the COVID-19 Pandemic globally and increased social distancing measures being put in place in Ontario and Canada as a whole, I am lucky enough to not have been seriously impacted by this. Both J and I have had to find a way to make this work from home thing work in our tiny apartment with only one desk. But we are fortunate enough to still have jobs, and are both healthy. So all things considered, we are doing well. I hope you and your family are keeping safe and healthy. The good news is we are all in this together and we can all appreciate what everyone is going through and hopefully give each other some grace as we try to adjust to this new reality. I’m going to keep my content yummy and light hearted as always. ‘Cause one thing we all need to keep doing is feeding ourselves and smiling if we are going to get through this. Sending you all virtual social distancing hugs and love. Stay safe everyone.***

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A Thai classic, this quick and easy soup recipe can be whipped up in as much time as it takes to boil water, as long as you have a few key Thai ingredients.

I explored some key thai ingredients in my basic thai red curry recipe a few weeks ago. This soup uses many of the same ingredients: Lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal. All are easy to find at my local asian grocer in both frozen and fresh form. Either version will work well in this recipe.

Keep these ingredients on hand (I keep mine in the freezer so they can last for months) and you can have tom yum soup any time. Swap out the broth for coconut milk and you turn it into Tom Yum Goong – a creamy version of this lemongrass soup.

The tom yum paste I used in this recipe was bought at a local Thai restaurant. J took me there for a Thai cooking lesson a while back, and I learnt that most restaurants would be willing to sell their sauces or pastes, if you just ask. Which I thought was a brilliant idea! Since they make their own sauces from scratch, the flavour is way better than any paste you can find in stores, and the ingredients will be clean and free of preservatives or MSG. And its a great way to support our local mom and pop shops. I will definitely be doing this more often for when I feel like cooking Thai!

I do also want to try making my own lemongrass or tom yum paste at some point. And for sure I will share it on here, and update this recipe. But that will have to be saved for another day.

For now, here’s a quick and easy tangy, spicy, tom yum soup, in all its glory:

Tom Yum (Lemongrass) Soup

A thai classic hot and sour soup that comes together in as much time as it takes to boil water. Switch out the chicken for shrimp or just leave it out for a veg version.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Soup
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, keto, sugar free, Vegetarian, Whole30
Servings: 4


Soup Base

  • 2 1/2 cup Vegetable Broth*
  • 1 tbsp tom yum paste*
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (skip this for vegetarian version)
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp sugar (sub apple juice for sugar free version)

Soup Ingredients

  • 2 oz chicken breast – cut into thin strips
  • 2 oz galangal (thai ginger) – sliced
  • 1/3 stalk lemongrass- cut into thin slices
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves – cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup onion – large slices
  • 1/2 cup tomato – cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 6 leaves basil
  • 1 green onion – sliced


  • In a large sauce pan, add all the soup ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Add the chicken (or any other protein you wish). Allow to come to a boil.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except the basil and green onions.
  • Allow to come to a boil and ensure the chicken has turned opaque and cooked through (About 3-4 mins).
  • Top with basil leaves and green onion slices.
  • Serve immediately.


*I highly recommend getting fresh tom yum paste from your favourite local Thai restaurant. It keeps in the fridge for weeks and makes a great marinade for chicken or shrimp.ย 
Tom Yum Goong is basically Tom Yum with the addition of coconut milk – so it is a creamier version – using the same recipe as above, just substitute 1 cup of the broth for 1 cup of coconut milk.

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