(Supposedly A) Tom Yam

I am not Thai, but I LOVE Thai Food. I love Tom Yam, Papaya Salad, Gelatin Rice with Mango and Coconut Milk, Pat Thai, Thai Duck Soup, you name it.

Right now I live USD 2000 away from Thailand and there’s no Thai restaurant exists in this most expensive city (for expats) in the world. Thus, home-made (supposedly a) Tom Yam is always in order. Of course my Tom Yam will be a laughing stock to Thai people, as westerners’ version of Satay to me. Still, it’s better than nothing. Besides, I always believe that if you want to get the authentic dish, don’t be a cheap and fly to the respective country.

Ingredients for soup

  • 15 medium size shrimps (remove head, skin and tail)
  • 500 gr fish fillet (I use Corvina), dice in cubes then fry
  • 300 gr button mushroom
  • 2 liter water
Spices for soup
  • 9 shallots
  • 9 garlic
  • 3 red chilis (or more if you’re brave)
  • 1 tbs of dried shrimp*
  • 1 tsp of shrimp paste
  • 2 sticks of (smashed) lemon grass root**
  • 9 kaffir lime leaves***
  • one thumb size of galangal (smashed)
  • chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste****
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbs salt (add more if needed)
  • 2 tbs cooking oil

Tamarind paste, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal

Ingredients for serving

  • chopped coriander leaves
  • sliced spring onion

Prepare the soup

  • With a blender, mix together shallots, garlic, red chili, dried shrimp & shrimp paste
  • In a big pot (with cooking oil) stir fry the mixed spices until fragrant
  • Add the head, skin and tail of the shrimp until color turns red
  • Add water
  • Add lime leaves, lemon grass, coriander leaves, galangal, tamarind paste, fish sauce, lime juice, pepper, sugar and salt
  • Taste (add salt, sugar, lime juice as needed and preferred)
  • Let it boil, turn down the heat and let it simmer for an hour
  • Strain the soup leaving only the cloudy reddish liquid
  • Into the strained soup, add shrimps, mushrooms and fried fish
  • Bring to boil, until shrimp and mushroom cooked
  • Add fresh chopped coriander and sliced spring onion before serving


  • *If you don’t have dried shrimp, you can make them by putting shrimps in the oven 200 C, until shrimps dried and crispy
  • ** You can use dried lemon grass roots (you need the roots, not the leaves)
  • *** This cannot be substituted with dried ones. Most Asian stores should have freshly-frozen leaves, so look in the frozen section
  • ****Tamarind paste can be substituted with vinegar. Don’t go overboard, try add little by little until you get the preferred acidity
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2 thoughts on “(Supposedly A) Tom Yam

  1. danti says:

    winaa.. ngiler banget ngeliatnya ajaa.. *gluk*

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