Lemongrass Soup with Shrimp (Tom Yum Kung)

Coconut milk is sometimes added to this soup, called tom yum kung in Thai, to make it thicker and richer. Spicy Thai chili paste or chili garlic sauce can also be added for more a spicier more complex flavor and color.

Serves: 4Hands-on: 20 minutesTotal: 20 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 4


  • 4 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 Thai chilies, sliced lengthwise
  • 4 Tbsp. fish sauce, divided
  • 1⁄2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves
  • 10 uncooked medium shrimp, unpeeled
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and chopped
  • 6 slices galangal, bruised and sliced
  • 4 lime leaves, torn or 4 small bay leaves plus 1 tsp. grated lime zest plus 1⁄2 tsp. minced lemon thyme


  • In a small bowl, combine lime juice, chilies, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, sugar, and cilantro leaves.
  • Peel and devein the shrimp. Save the shells to make stock. Bring water to boil and add shrimp shells. Boil for about 3 minutes and strain the stock. Add lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves to the stock and bring it back to boil. Season with remaining 1 tablespoon fish sauce.
  • Add shrimp and simmer over low heat until shrimp just change color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sauce to the hot soup and check seasoning. It should be salty, sour, and spicy.