Tom Yam Gung – One of the best soups in the world

Tom yam, one of Thailand’s most famous meals, is distinguished by its peculiar spicy and sour flavor, with fragrant spices and herbs extensively employed in the broth. Fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed red chilies are used to make the soup. The Thai soup Tom Yam is one of the most popular in the world due to its unique flavor.

While the origins of tom yam gung are unknown, it is usually assumed to be a Thai soup, but it is also served in adjacent countries. It might have started in central Thailand, where fresh shrimp abound on the Chao Phraya River.

The soup became famous in Thailand over time and swiftly spread throughout the world due to its simple preparation and delicious taste. Tom yam gung has been introduced to many Western cultures, and it has become a standard in Thai restaurants serving clients from all over the world.

Additional ingredients have been introduced here and there, most notably the meat/fish and spices used to form the paste. While straw or oyster mushrooms are used in certain modern versions of tom yam gung, other restaurants add nam phrik phao, a Thai chili paste that gives tom yam soup an orange hue and accentuates the chili flavor.

As said before, the Tom Yam soup must not be made with shrimp. In addition to Tom Yam Gung (prawns), there is Tom Yam Gai (chicken), Tom Yam Pla (fish), Tom Yam Seafood (Tom yam po taek), and vegan versions, such as Tom Yam Durian (Thai smelly fruit durian). Nonetheless, it is truly “unique”…

The flavor takes some getting used to at first, and it is quite hot, but after the second try, it is extremely wonderful. It can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or as a snack. If you have too much interaction with spirits the day before, take Tim Yam for breakfast; it does wonders.

Tom Yam Gung – the recipe

Tom Yam Gung - One of the best soups in the world

Take for 3 people:

  • 300g shelled prawns and gut removed (it’s in the back!)
  • approx. 800ml water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4 leaves of kaffir lime (ma-grood)
  • 2 thin slices of ginger
  • 4 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass
  • 2 shallots
  • 100g Straw Mushrooms or Mu-err
  • 5 green Thai chili peppers (not so hot in one piece, cut quite hot)
  • 1-2 squeezed limes
  • 1 teaspoon black chili sauce (nam prik pau)
  • 1 tbsp shredded coriander leaves (bak schi)

First, briefly boil the water and shrimp shells in a big saucepan, then strain the soup. (Bowls and heads for the rubbish bin or the home cat). To the broth, add the garlic, lime leaves, ginger, shallots, lemongrass, and fish sauce.

Next, add the mushrooms (champignons can be substituted if desired) and chiis. Gently bring everything to a boil for 2-3 minutes. The shrimp should then be cooked briefly. Add the black chili sauce and coriander leaves when the chicken is done. Serve immediately and hot!

Olivia Ashly

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