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Tom Yum Gai (Thai Spicy Chicken Soup) from scratch

Resep dalam bahasa Indonesia ada di bagian bawah

Selam everybody..... Merhaba from Turkey....

Tom yam or tom yum is spicy thai soup usually cooked with shrimp. Beside in Thailand it also served around it neighbours countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Brunei. It is so popular and become world wide popular food not only at those Asian neighbours.

Tom yum is characterised by its distinct hot and sour flavours, with fragrant spices and herbs generously used in the broth. The basic broth is made of stock and fresh ingredients such as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, lime juice, fish sauce, and crushed chili peppers.

Tom yum soup has many variant depends on ingredients use such as :
Tom yum goong or tom yam kung, is made with prawns as the main ingredient.
Tom yam pla is a clear fish soup that was traditionally eaten with rice. It used to be the most widespread form of tom yam before mass-tourism came to Thailand, for fresh fish is readily available almost everywhere in the region's rivers, canals and lakes as well as in the sea. Usually fish with firm flesh that doesn't crumble after boiling is preferred for this type of soup.
Tom yum gai or tom yam kai is the chicken version
Tom yum po taek or tom yam thale is a variant of the soup with mixed seafood, like prawns, squid, clams and pieces of fish.
Tom yam nam khon is a more recent variation. Almost always made with prawns as a main ingredient, a little milk or coconut milk is added to the broth as a finishing touch, and then balanced with some toasted dried chillies. This adaptation is not to be confused with tom kha gai ("chicken galanga soup"), where galangal is the dominant flavour of the coconut milk-based soup.
Tom yam kung maphrao on nam khon , a version of prawn tom yum with the meat of a young coconut and a dash of (coconut) milk.
Tom yam kha mu, made with pork leg. These require a long cooking time under low fire.

What I'm about to share today is tom yum gai (tom yan kai), tom soup made from chicken. Beside using chicken meat and mushrooms, I also add some small shrimp to get great tom yum flavour that I like. For this tom yum kai you may skip the shrimp if you want.

If you browse around the net for this recipe, you'll get hundreds of it. Some use ready tom yum paste (nam prik pao) and some making from scratch.
Mostly I make all my foods from scratch but for this spicy tom yum I prefer use ready nam prik pao/ thai spicy sauce, it will give you real kick of thai dish! .... But poor me this winter my nam prik pao finish.... so you can guess... I cooked tom yum many times ^,^

Well...it's my fave dish..especially during winter and cold days or when I got flu... So what to do.. this time I make my tom yum soup really from scratch... The taste is so tasteful exactly when I use ready nam prik pao.

So bad I forgot to picture my home made tom yum paste/ nam prik pao...next time I'll post my home made nam prik pao in different post.

So here my recipe which I got from my Malaysian friend who had lived in Thailand several years. She said that she got this recipe from her Thailand neighbour in Laem Chabang when she was living there...She is recently living in Kajang. Thank you "B" for the recipe.

Tom Yum Gai
Serve 4~5 hungry people

  • 2 chicken thighs (about 500 gr), cut into chunks
  • about 750 g button mushrooms or straw mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cloves of garlic, bruised and finely chopped
  • 3 cm fresh galangal, bruised
  • 1 lemongrass, bruised
  • 2 kaffir lime leaf, roughly chopped
  • some dried birdseye chili, as your taste
  • about 2 tsp tamarind paste*
  • 4~5 tbsp nam prik pao paste**
  • salt and sugar to taste
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • lime juice
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
  • Some coriander leaves for serve, roughly chopped
* soak some tamarind pulp into a cup of warm water to make paste
**Homemade nam prik pao/ tom yum paste:
  • 200 gr red chili, roughly chopped
  • some dried birdeye chili
  • 7 shallots or 1 big red onion roughly chopped
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • 4~5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
  • 2 cm galangal, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp tamarind paste* (see note upper side)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • cooking oil
I use mortar and pestle to ground my nam prik pao
Making tom yum paste:
  1. heat about 2 tbsp cooking oil and a wok/ pan. Stir fry red chili, birdseye chili, shallot, garlic, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. Keep stirring until you see they got slightly brown and caramelized. Remove from heat.
  2. Use mortar and pestle, ground them with coriander and shrimp paste until puree smooth. In same wok, heat some cooking oil, stir fry the puree spice for few minutes until it looks oily. 
  3. Add tamarind paste and fish sauce, continue stir fry for few minutes more. Remove from heat.
  4. Store in airtight jar and keep in fridge. Can be use for weeks. 
How to make tom yum gai:
  1. Boil chicken in about 2 cups of water for few minutes until chicken change color. Discharge the water and strain the chicken. This step is to get more clear chicken broth for your soup. 
  2. Put your chicken meat back in pan, add hot boiling water (about 1,5 lt), add in chopped garlic, galangal, lemongrass, birdeye chili, kaffir lime leaf, then cook over medium heat with lid on for few minutes until chicken are cooked.
  3. Mix in mushrooms, 4~5 tbsp tom yum paste, fish sauce, tamarind paste, turmeric (if using), salt and sugar. continue to cook for few minutes. Check the taste. You might add some lemon juice, sugar or salt.
Serve with coriander on top and warm steamed white rice.


Tom Yum Gai (soup tom yum ayam)

  • 2 buah paha ayam (sekitar 500 gr), potong-potong
  • kerleb 750 g jamur kancing atau jamur merang, belah dua
  • 2 siung bawang putih,geprak dan cincang
  • 3 cm laos, geprak
  • 1 sereh, geprak
  • 1 daun jeruk purut, cincang kasar
  • cabe rawit (segar atau kering) sesuai selera
  • sekitar 2 sdt pasta asam jawa*
  • 4~5 sdm pasta tom yum**
  • garam dan gula sesuai selera
  • 1 sdm saus ikan
  • perasan jeruk limau / lemon
  • 1 sdt bubuk kunyit (optional)
  • daun ketumbar, cincang kasar untuk disajikan
* rendam asam jawa dengan air hangat secukupnya hingga lembek
**Homemade nam prik pao/ pasta tom yum :
  • 200 gr cabe merah, potong kasar
  • cabe rawit, pedasnya sesuai selera
  • 7 bawang merah or 1 bawang merah ukuran besar, cincang kasar
  • 7 siung bawang putih
  • 1 sdm terasi
  • 4~5 daun jeruk purut
  • 2 sereh, potong kasar bagian putihnya saja
  • 2 cm laos, potong kasar
  • 3 sdm saus ikan
  • 4 sdm pasta asam (lihat tanda * diatas)
  • 2 sdt bubuk ketumbar
  • minyak goreng secukupnya
Cara membuat pasta tom yum/ nam prik pao:
  1. Panaskan sekitar 2 sdm minyak diatas wajan. Masukkancabe merah, cabe rawit,bawang merah, bawang putih, sereh, daun jeruk dan laos, goreng hingga agak kecoklatan di permukaan bumbu-bumbu. Matikan api.
  2. Uleg halus semua bumbu yang digoreng tadi dengan bubuk ketumbar dan trasi. Lalu tumis lagi dengan beberapa sendok minyak goreng. Tumis hingga aromatik dan bumbu terpisah dari minyak.
  3. Tambahkan pasta asam dan saus ikan, lanjutkan menumis hingga beberapa menit lagi. Matikan api.
  4. Simpan dalam wadah kedap udara. Simpan dalam kulkas sebagai stok bumbu tom yum.
Membuat Tom yum gai:
  1. Didihkan ayam dalam 2 gelas air hingga berbusa dan ayam berubah warna. Buang air rebusan, dengan cara ini akan didapatkan kuah soup yang bening.
  2. Masukkan kembali potongan ayam dalam panci dan tuangi air panas (kurleb 1,5lt), tambahkan cincangan bawang putih, laos dan sereh, cabe rawit, daun jeruk. Masak hingga mendidih dan ayam matang.
  3. Masukkan jamur, 4~5 sdm pasta tom yum, saus ikan, pasta asam, bubuk kunyit (jika pakai), garam dan gula. Lanjutkan memasak hingga bumbu-bumbu meresap, koreksi rasanya. Jika kurang asam, bisa tambahkan perasan limau. Tambahkan garam atau gula sesuai selera. Matikan api.
Sajikan dengan cincangan daun ketumbar dan nasi hangat.

Check my other yummy recipe:

Resep Tongseng tanpa santan / Indonesian beef (or mutton) stew

Cauliflower potato soup

Creamy Carrot Soup Recipe (Soup Wortel)



  1. resepnya tidak terlalu sulit akan dicoba neh ;)

  2. I've never had it but it looks and sounds delish! Pinning!

    1. Thank you Rebecca... you should try this once in a while ^,^

  3. My husband is a big soup lover (if there is meat in it!) and this would be so perfect for him! Saving for later :)

    1. Hai Kacey.... my husband too..anything with meat in it'll be finish in a glance :)

  4. This sounds AMAZING! Perfect for chili days, it will certainly keep you warm!

  5. This is one of my favorite soups. I love how authentic you have made it.

    1. Thank you Christie! glad I find somebody else who has same fave with me ^,^

  6. This is one of my favorite soups! I can't wait to try your recipe!

    1. thank you Lauren... can't wait you try this in your kitchen

  7. This looks warming, spicy and delicious! I'll have to see if my local Asian markets carry galangal, though. I don't remember having seen it here in Texas before. Can you suggest a replacement for it or a source where I could order it if it's not available locally?

    1. Hi Jerry.... If you can't find fresh galangal, you can use dried or powdered one, I believe this one is mostly available. Just soak dried galangal in hot water about a day before or until it soft enough to bruised. Or use 1/2 tsp powdered galangal instead. For substitution mostly people use small amount fresh ginger, that's last option. I hope it'll help. thx


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