This easy Thai creamy Tom Yum soup with shrimp (Tom Yum Goong) is the ultimate Thai soup you don't want to miss. This creamy version is made the traditional way using whole shrimp heads to make the broth giving this classic soup a rich flavorful soup that is delectable and addicting!
Thai Tom Yum soup is the most popular soup in Thai cuisine. There are many delicious Thai soups in the Thai food repertoire, but it is one of the best soups in the world. All Thai restaurants worldwide serve it as a tasty dish with many fragrant spices and herbs that are pleasing to smell and taste.
Want more of this Tom Yum deliciousness? Make authentic homemade Tom Yum Paste and Nam Prik Pao, a Thai chili oil paste. Then use those two ingredients to make an Instant pot tom yum soup with shrimp and an authentic tom yum soup recipe with chicken. You will be all set for your most authentically flavored Tom Yum soups like you would have them in Thailand!
What is Creamy Tom Yum Soup?
Tom Yum is a Thai spicy soup with a tangy broth with bold and delicious flavors from fresh aromatic ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro roots or stems, shallot, and garlic, all infused in the stock for the heavenly fragrance and taste.
Tom yum soup is typically seasoned with Nam Prik Pao, a Thai chili paste staple and a must for Tom Yum soups. Tamarind, fish sauce, a little sugar, and added until a perfect balance is achieved.
There are many variations of Tom Yum soup. The most popular version is with a semi-clear broth like this easy chicken tom yum recipe. There's also the creamy version like this one recipe. The main difference is that evaporated or coconut milk has a creamy, rich base.
Why This Recipe Works
- It's full of flavors! From the naturally creamy fats from the shrimp heads.
- It's adaptable! Make it vegetarian. Use chicken, fish, or your favorite seafood!
- This soup is quick to assemble, making it a quick lunch or dinner recipe.
- The fresh aromatics and herbs used in Tom Yum soup are extremely healthy.
- It's comforting and full of flavors to boost your taste buds
- The creaminess of this Tom Yum version makes the soup less spicy. This a perfect recipe to introduce newbies to Thai Tom Yum Soups.
The secret to this creamy Tom Yum soup, or Tom Yum Goong in Thai, (ต้มยำกุ้ง) is using whole shrimp with heads, tails, and shells. The heads of the shrimp are the secret ingredient here that we will use to make the stock for the soup. This is where all the natural flavors of the broth are extracted from.
The rich and creamy part of the shrimp heads, where the natural fats are stored and used to flavor this authentic Tom Yum Goong recipe, gives this recipe a natural umami flavor that makes this soup extra addictive! Talking about not wasting anything when it comes to food.
Let's be adventurous, and I promise you will love the flavors of this creamy Tom Yum soup just as much, if not more, than the clear broth Tom Yum soup.
Ingredients for Tom Yum soup recipe
- Stock. We will use prawns or shrimp to make shrimp stock for this recipe. Use large shrimp or prawns with heads, tails, and shells on.
- Shrimp. Find large juicy shrimp with shells, heads, and tails still on. These can be found in the Asian market in the frozen section too.
- Tom Yum paste. Make your own or buy store-bought at your local Asian market. I recommend the Aroy D brand.
- Thai roasted chilies paste, Nam Prik Pao. Make your own or buy this brand.
- Mushrooms. This recipe uses Shimai mushrooms. Different types of mushrooms great for Tom Yum soup are button mushrooms, straw mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms, or oyster mushrooms. Any earthy mushrooms work great for Tom Yum soups. At your local grocery store will work.
- Tomato. Roma tomatoes are used for this recipe, but any large tomatoes will work.
- Fresh lemongrass stalks. One of the main aromatic herbs. Adds a citrusy fresh flavor to Tom Yum soup.
- Fresh galangal. Ginger is not a good substitute. Find galangal at your local Asian market.
- Kaffir lime leaves. Also called Makrut lime leaves, one of the main aromatics for broth seasoning. Find the aromatics at your local Asian markets.
- Fresh cilantro stems or roots. Use the stems for making the broth and the rest for garnishing.
- Evaporated milk. Use coconut milk or heavy cream as a substitute
- Sugar. White, palm, or brown sugar. Traditional Thai recipes use palm sugar, but any sweetener will work—just a touch to round out the salty and sourness.
- Fish sauce. Adds the salty umami taste to the soup.
- Tamarind pulp. Also called tamarind paste, juice, or concentrate. Used for the sour, tangy taste that Tom Yum is known for. Fresh lime juice can be used as a substitute.
See the recipe card below for quantities.
How to Make Tom Yum Goong Soup
Step 1. Prepare the shrimp. Remove the shrimp shells and heads. Deveins the shrimp and set aside.
Step 3. Carefully strain the stock from the pot into a large heat-safe bowl. Discard the shrimp heads and shells.
Step 5. Add the Tom Yum paste and Nam Prik Pao (Chili paste oil) and stir well until the pastes dissolve.
Step 2. Make the stock. Add water to a large pot on medium heat, like a dutch oven or stock pot.
Step 4. Add the stock and all the herbs into the stock pot. Bring the stock to a gently boil, about 10 minutes.
Step 6. Add the vegetables (shallot, mushroom, tomato) and stir. Add more of your favorite vegetables here too.
Step 7. Add the evaporated milk. Coconut milk or heavy cream works, too as a substitute.
Step 8. Add the shrimp then fish sauce and tamarind and cook for 2 minutes. Seasoned as needed!
That’s it for your Creamy Tom Yum Goong! Serve fresh as a stand alone dish or laddle a generous portion over cooked Jasine rice (my favorite!) or rice noodles. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges and sliced spring onions. Enjoy!
Helpful Kitchen notes
- Don’t forget to remove the chunky herbs before eating, especially the lemongrass and galangal, if you don’t want to eat them. They will not harm you, but they are pretty strong in flavor and hard to chew if you are not used to them.
- Tom Yum soup can be eaten as a stand-alone dish. You can add cooked Jasmine rice to the bowl if desired. My Thai family and I often do so as it makes the soup more hearty. Rice also serves as a great buffer for the spicy flavors of the soup! (:
- For spicy food lovers, add whole Thai chili peppers, fresh or dried, to the soup to add heat. Leave the Thai chilies whole. The seeds will be too spicy unless you truly enjoy the extreme spiciness. (:
- Use chicken broth or stock if you can't find whole shrimp with heads and tails. Mushroom or vegetable broth is great for a vegetarian version.
- For a vegan Tom Yum soup version, make your own Tom Yum paste and omit the shrimp paste: Season the vegetable or mushroom broth with salt, tamarind juice, and some sugar.
- Try this recipe with lobster! Lobster also has a rich and creamy texture stored in the shells, called Tomalley, that is perfect for making broth in this Tom Yum soup.
- The same applies to large crabs and other large crustacean animals—experiment with what you have and enjoy the flavors!
- The protein used for Tom Yum varies depending on taste and nutritional preference. Shrimp and seafood are the most common proteins in Tom Yum soups in Thailand. Next is the chicken. The vegetarian version using tofu and vegetables is also popular in Thailand.
- For vegetarian Tom Yum Soup versions, popular vegetables are cabbage, green beans, broccoli, bok choy, baby corn, and anything you prefer. It's a very adaptable recipe. The vegetables used are typically tomatoes, shallot, and mushrooms.
- Spicy - Tom Yum leans on the spicy and sour side. The spiciness comes from the paste and roasted chili paste (Nam Prik Pao.) Make your own Tom Yum paste and Nam Prik Pao to control the spice level. They also taste fresh and flavorful!
More Thai Recipes You’ll Love!
- Instant Pot Tom Thai Yum soup with shrimp
- Tom Yum meatballs
- Easy Tom Yum soup recipe with chicken
- Tom Kha soup recipe, authentic
- Tom Yum fried rice using leftovers turkey meat
- Fish sour soup recipe
- Authentic Thai red curry recipe
- Thai Choo Chee curry with salmon
- Thai pork belly with yellow curry
- Easy red curry green beans with shrimp
- Home-made red curry paste
Yes. Tom Yum soups keep well. Though the shrimp may ,get overcooked and taste a bit rubbery it's still fine to eat. Keep your leftover tom yum soup in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Yes! The tiny amount of meaty and orange-colored sauce around the heads of raw shrimp holds rich, creamy flavors that elevate recipes.
The heads of shrimp and prawn are known to be used as a natural umami seasoning flavor in soups and stir fries. The meaty sauce in the head area is called Tomalley, with a naturally creamy, rich, and lightly salty texture underneath the shells.
These are my favorite drinks to serve with Tom Yum soup.Print
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