Tom Yum or Canh Chua Thai (Hot & Sour Thai Soup)


One of my favorite Thai dishes is Tom Yum or Tom Kha gai!  Hot & Sour Thai Soup is full of healthy, fresh ingredients and a soothing broth! Lemongrass, ginger, fresh Thai chilies, kaffir lime leaves, basil, lime juice, tamarind and coconut milk are the main components.  The Vietnamese version of Tom Yum does not include coconut milk.  It is more of a Canh Chua Thai (which is Thai Sour Soup).  I’ve been experimenting with my recipes for Feastly dinners and have come up with a fun way for my feasters to participate by allowing them to control their own levels of spice and creaminess.

**I’ll be serving this at my next Feastly Event on October 24th!  There are still a few open seats!  Come Feast with me!

Here’s my recipe:
One pot should be enough to serve 6-8 people

1 lb of shrimp
2 handful of mushrooms (oyster, bella, button, etc – use a variety that you like)
2 stalks of lemongrass
1 ginger root
1 large white/yellow onion (cut into big chunks)
1-2 tbsp minced garlic
2-3 tomatoes (quartered)
3-5 kaffir lime leaves
4-8 thai chilies (I use both dried and fresh – this really depends on your spice preference)
Juice of one large lime
1 small can of sliced bamboo shoots
bunch of cilantro
fresh bean sprouts
Tamarind Soup Base
1-2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 cup of coconut cream/milk

Other veggies you can add:
canned baby corn
snap peas



  • Ginger – use a spoon to peel the root, then cut into large pieces because you will fish these out of the soup when ready to serve
  • Lemongrass – slice off the bottom of the stalk, peel the outermost layer and slice diagonally into 1 inch pieces to release its aromatic nose candy! i absolutely LOVE lemongrass!!
  • Shrimp/Chicken – peel, devein, and leave tail on or 2 chicken breast (halved and sliced) or a combination of both

1. Add minced garlic, ginger and lemongrass to stockpot with olive oil. Sautee but do not let the garlic burn.
2. Add 4 cups of chicken stock or plain cold water to the pot and let come to a boil.
3. If you are using dried thai chilies, add them to the pot now.
4. Add half of the Tamarind Soup Base package and fish sauce
5. If using chicken, add the chicken to the pot, turn the heat to med-low.
6. Add other veggies now (mushrooms, bamboo, onions, tomatoes)
7. Crumble/break up the kaffir leaves with your hands and add to the soup. Allow soup to cook at medium to low heat for 10 minutes
8. If using shrimp, give yourself 5 minutes just before serving the soup to add the shrimp.
9. Final step is to squeeze the lime in the pot, sprinkle the soup with the fresh sliced thai peppers and add bean sprouts (they will cook very quickly).

When presenting my soup, garnish each bowl with a few sprigs of cilantro. Each person gets a bowl of soup along with a small dipping bowl of coconut cream/milk. I instruct my guests to add a little coconut to their soup and add more if they prefer a more creamy or sweet broth. If you don’t want to serve it like this, just add the coconut right before the lime and stir gently before serving. I also present a separate, small plate of sliced thai peppers that they can add if they would like more spice. Asian food often allows for the eater to self-spice. Often times, bottles of sriracha, soy, fish sauce and other condiments are usually made available so that individuals can choose to create a unique flavor for themselves.


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