Tom Yum Goong (Thai sweet and sour soup with shrimp)

Tom Yum Goong (Thai sweet and sour soup with shrimp)

Temperatures can be well over 100 degrees in Las Vegas on most days in July and August. There are many ways to beat the heat here and one way many people wouldn’t think about is a steaming bowl of spicy soup. Spicy dishes are common in most tropical and desert cuisines because the heat from the spices and fiery peppers brings on the perspiration which in turn cools the body through evaporation.

Nobody does spicy soup like the Thais and one of the most famous Thai soups is Tom Yum, a hot & sour chicken broth based soup seasoned with the Thai chili paste called Nam Prik Pao. The chili paste is available in most Asian markets but I’m lucky that a dear friend, Khun Jentana, brings us a particularly good brand with her on the plane when she visits Las Vegas.

In my version, a good chicken broth that can be made in advance and frozen till needed is seasoned with lemongrass, lime juice, fish sauce and a spoonful of Nam Prik. Shrimp (or thin slices of chicken) are added near the end of simmering. I sometimes add a handful of pre-cooked wide rice noodles or pre-cooked ramen noodles to make this a main dish soup.

Tom Yum Goong

4 cups good chicken broth (home made is best but low-sodium canned will do in a pinch)
2 stalks lemongrass, bottom part only, peeled, lightly crushed and cut into 2 inch pieces)
2-3 medium mushroom, sliced
1 -2 limes juiced
½ tsp sugar (or more to taste)
1-2 tsp fish sauce (or to taste)
½ to 1 teaspoon (or more to taste) Thai chili paste (nam prik pao)
12 medium shrimp , shelled
2 green onions
2-3 sprigs fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley for garnish

Bring the broth to a simmer and add the lime leaves and lemongrass. Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 2 teaspoons of lime juice and 1 tsp fish sauce. Taste to make sure broth is seasoned to taste, should a balance of sweet, sour and salty).

When broth is seasoned add the sliced mushrooms and ½ tsp of the chili paste. Taste again and add an additional teaspoon of lime juice or fish sauce if needed. If a spicier soup is desired add an additional ½ tsp of the chili paste. Add the peeled shrimp and simmer over low heat just until the shrimp are cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Don’t boil over high heat or shrimp will become tough.

Taste the broth once again and re-season if needed to balance the sweet/sour/salty flavors and add a touch of lime juice, sugar, fish sauce or nam prik if needed.

Serve right away as is or with noodles and garnished with fresh cilantro or parsley and sliced green onions. Serves 2 people.

Nam Prik Pao

  1. It’s Look nice
    Thanks for great recipe 🙂

    • Bob
    • September 6th, 2010

    Looks good but where do you buy the Nam Prik? At one of the Asian markets on Spring Mountain?

      • lvegas
      • September 6th, 2010

      Many of the Asian markets in Vegas, especially the ones carrying Southest Asian pantry staples will have nam prik. The markets that specialise mainly in Chinese or Japanese may not have it but Ranch 99 or SF Market (I prefer SF Market) both in Chinatown on Spring Mountain carry several good brands. This is also the main ingredient in spicy beef salad and other classic Thai soups so it’s a common item on Thai grocery shelves.. Once opened, a jar of nam prik will keep for years in your fridge.

  2. this looks great hope your doing well!

    • Ursu Radu
    • August 15th, 2010

    Buna ziua,

    As fi interesat de un link-exchange intre , si blogul dvs. Daca sunteti interesat astept un email (va rog precizati linkul dvs) pe

    Cu respect,
    Ursu Radu

    (Dupa vizualizare as avea rugamintea ca acest comentariu sa fie sters)

  3. I agree, delicious – and I love hot soups in hot climates too, this one with the peppers should get ya sweating….

  4. Mmmm…..this looks spicy and delicious…my favourite. I love Thai food…beautiful flavour & taste.

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