Tom Yum Gai – Thai Spicy and Sour Chicken Soup


Recipe: Tom Yum Gai (Thai Spicy & Sour Chicken Soup)

Summary: If you’ve ever been to a Thai restaurant, you’re probably very well aware of this soup they call Tom Yum Gai. “Tom Yum” is the name of the soup that originated from Laos and Thailand, and “Gai” means chicken. Tom Yum is also typically made with prawns, which is called Tom Yum Goong.

Since we didn’t have any prawns on hand, we used chicken. Other distinct characteristics of this soup is that it’s made with very unique ingredients – such as galangal (a very earthy and citrusy root), lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and fish sauce. It may sound like a very weird combination of flavors, but somehow it incorporates nicely!



  • 5 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3 shallots chopped
  • galangal root 2 inches
  • 400 grams (about 1lb) boneless chicken meat diced
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 100 grams (3.5 oz) straw mushrooms, halved 6 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 fresh lemon grass stem cut into short lengths
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
  • 3 tbsp Thai fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 5-6 hot fresh Thai chilies, just broken with pestle


  1. To start the broth, we used 10 cups of chicken broth and added 1/4 cup of fish sauce to flavor it. To this, add 2 or 3 juiced limes (depending on how sour you like the soup). Add the sliced galangal, chopped lime leaves, minced garlic, chopped shallots, and 1 fresh lemon grass stem cut into short lengths. We used our lemongrass in the garden, too. Yay! Anyway, bring this to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes.

Photo Courtesy of and Recipe Adapted From: / CC-BY-SA 


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