Spicy Prawn Soup, or Tom Yam Kung

One of my favorite soups of all time is this hot and spicy prawn soup from the Central Plain of Thailand. I was so excited to learn the secrets of Thai dishes like this! It takes just a few minutes to prepare and the flavors are amazing! A must have when traveling Thailand and on just about every menu in Koh Samui.

Recipe serves 4


1 litre chicken broth/stock
8 slices galangal root
4 kaffir lime leaves
4 sticks lemongrass cut in 2.5 cm pieces
8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 onion, sliced
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon roasted chili paste
1 teaspoon sugar
16 fresh prawns peeled, deveined, with tails intact
16 oyster mushrooms, sliced in half
4 small shallots, sliced
2 small fresh chilies finely sliced (optional depending on desired spice)
Chopped fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Let’s make some soup!

Bring chicken stock to a boil. Add galangal, lime leaves and lemongrass. Boil rapidly for 1 or 2 minutes then add onion and tomatoes.

Turn heat to low. Stir in lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar and roasted chili paste. Simmer for another minute.

Add prawns, mushrooms and shallots. Cook for another 3 minutes, being careful not to overcook the prawns. 

Taste to see if extra lemon juice, fish sauce or roasted chili paste is needed. Add sliced chilies, if using.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

The Galangal root has a sharp citrusy, almost piney flavor and looks like ginger. You can get the Galangal root, lime leaves, lemongrass and fish sauce at Ranch 99 in Mira Mesa in the San Diego area.



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Welcome to Mary’s Kitchen, I was born in Coronado and have been a personal chef on the island for several years specializing in farm to table homestyle cuisine. My goal is to share with you my passion for food and travel by introducing you to recipes from around the world.