Thai Tom Yum (Hot & Sour Soup)


  • 2 pounds fresh mushrooms (or other ingredient) cut into convenient spoonable size pieces.
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass, bruised (this isn’t eaten, but is an essential flavorant)
  • 2 “kaffir” lime leaves (use lime zest if you can’t get it)
  • 2 coriander [cilantro] plants, chopped.
  • 10-15 prik ki nu (birdseye chilis) thinly sliced.
  • 2-5 dried red chilis.
  • X the juice of 3 or 4 limes
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sliced bamboo shoots or coconut shoots
  • 2-3 tablespoons of fish sauce.
  • 1-2 tablespoons “chilis in oil” (Nam Prik Pao)

Nam Prik Pao:

  • 4 tablespoon oil
  • 3 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 3 tablespoon coarsely chopped dried red chiles
  • 1 tablespoon fermented shrimp paste
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar


  1. Heat the oil: add the garlic and shallots and fry briefly, remove from the oil and set aside. Add the chilies and fry until they start to change colour, then remove them and set them aside.
  2. In a mortar and pestle pound the shrimp paste, add the chiles, garlic and shallots, blending each in before adding the next. Then over low heat return all the ingredients to the oil, and fold into a uniform paste.
  3. The resulting thick, slightly oily red/black sauce will keep almost indefinitely. If you wish you can add more fish sauce and/or sugar to get the flavour you want.
  4. Heat about 3 cups of water to boiling point, add all the ingredients, and stir constantly until cooked


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