Hot-and-Sour Soup with Prawns

Tom Yum

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

My Asian Kitchen

My Asian Kitchen

By Jennifer Joyce

Published 2018

  • About

This fragrant soup will overwhelm you with intense bursts of lemongrass, lime and seafood. The Thais put A LOT of chilli in theirs and even the fiercest chilli afficionados break out in a sweat. I’ve kept all the taste, but scaled back on heat. If you can order Thai chilli paste (nam prik pao) online, it’s the secret to capturing the quintessential Thai flavour. Alternatively, add two chopped bird’s eye chillies.

Prep 20 minutes
Cook 40 minutes


Basic Stock

  • 12 raw prawns with shells/heads on
  • 6 lemongrass stems
  • 3 Thai or other small shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 20 g (¾ oz) galangal, chopped
  • 1 small bunch coriander (cilantro)
  • 1.5 litres (52 fl oz) chicken stock
  • 8 lime leaves

Hot-and-Sour Soup

  • 3 tbsp Thai chilli paste
  • 200 ml 7 fl oz) coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp palm or soft brown sugar
  • 3–4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 200 g 7 oz) baby white mushrooms, halved
  • chopped red chillies, to serve


Peel the prawns and devein, reserving the shells and heads (if you have them).

Finely chop the inner part of the lemongrass. Place the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, galangal and the well washed coriander roots and stems in a mortar and pestle and pound until crushed to a coarse paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, place them in a bowl and use the end of a rolling pin.

Transfer the paste to a large saucepan, add the stock, prawn shells and heads and four of the lime leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 30 minutes. The stock should reduce by one third. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into another saucepan and discard the solids.

To make the hot-and-sour soup, add the chilli paste, coconut milk, lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and mushrooms. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the prawns and the remaining lime leaves. Simmer for 3–4 minutes or until the mushrooms and prawns are cooked. Ladle into bowls and serve sprinkled with the chopped coriander leaves and red chilli.