Classic Tom Yam Goong is a savory blend of refreshing lemongrass and hot spices. This is a beautiful soup during autumn and winter as the temperatures start dipping. Like every other recipe, it’s very important to use fresh ingredients but even more so when seafood such as prawn serves as the main star. To achieve a truly authentic flavor and aroma, nothing can substitute fresh lemongrass.

Serves 4 to 6

14 cloves garlic
2 inch piece of galangal rinsed and peeled
8 bird’s eye chili peppers, ends trimmed
1 large shallot, peeled
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
2 cups water
3 cups seafood broth (substitute with any of your favorite vegetable or chicken broth)
3 whole stalks lemongrass
5 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 cup kafir lime leaves, rinsed
1/2 pound shrimp with tail on, shelled and deveined
2 cups button mushrooms cut into quarters
Chopped cilantro for garnishing


Using a mortar and pestle or a food processor, mash together the garlic, galangal, chili peppers and shallot until they become a smooth paste. Set aside.

In a medium sized pot, heat the oil on high heat. Sauté the paste until fragrant for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water and broth stirring gently. Bring to a vigorous boil.

Trim the ends off of the lemongrass stalks and remove any browning outer layers. Using a meat pounder, bruise the entire length of the stalks until the lemongrass is slightly flattened and opened. Then chop each stalk into 3 or 4 shorter stalks. Add the lemongrass along with the Kafir Lime leaves into the broth. Once the broth has come to a hard boil, turn the heat down to medium, cover the pot and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes to allow the full flavors of the lemongrass and lime leaves to extract.

Finally, add the fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, shrimp and mushroom. Turn off the heat immediately so the shrimp don’t overcook. Stir gently, making sure that all the ingredients have combined thoroughly. Serve hot with sprinkled cilantro on top.