Around the Bowl

Soups of the world – Recipes from around the globe & some creations of my own

Tom Yum Gai – Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup


Hello foodies of the world! It’s been busy around here but there’s always time to squeeze a good Thai home-made food in. I often cook wonderful Thai curries with coconut milk, but I wanted to try something different that needed to be very easy and quick to put together as well. That’s why Tom Yum came to my mind, it is an aromatic hot and sour soup made with a lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal/ginger, lime juice, fish sauce and chilli base.  There are different variations depending on the protein component: fish, prawn, mixed seafood, pork or chicken (Gai/Kai); which is the one I’m sharing today.

If you cook Thai regularly, you probably already have all the basic ingredients in your kitchen and just have to add any protein source and vegetables of your choice. You can also turn it into a vegetarian dish by adding tofu and into a vegan one by trading the fish sauce for soy sauce.  Tom Yum makes an excellent week day healthy and complete dinner.

Let’s cook!

Servings: 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes


  • 1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable stock for vegetarian/vegan options)
  • 2 lemon grass stalks, bruised
  • 5 Kaffir lime leaves, torn or 1 teaspoonful of lime zest
  • 2 teaspoonfuls of grated ginger (galangal is more authentic if you can get it)
  • 1 lime juice
  • Fish sauce to taste
  • 2 chilli peppers of your choice (according to your hotness tolerance), deseeded and sliced
  • 1 chicken breast, shredded (I used chicken roast leftovers) or 1 raw chicken breast finally chopped
  • 1 spring onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of button mushroom, sliced
  • Fresh chopped cilantro to garnish


In a deep cooking pot, bring the stock to a boil, add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves (or lime zest), ginger (or galangal), lime juice, fish sauce and chillies. Turn down the heat and allow to infuse, simmering for around 10 minutes. In the meantime, cut the chicken, onion and mushrooms.

Continue by removing the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves. Put in the chicken, mushrooms and onion and simmer for 15 minutes, until the mushrooms are cooked.

Serve, garnish with coriander and enjoy!


6 thoughts on “Tom Yum Gai – Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup

  1. One of my favorites! I grow lemon grass just for this soup and if I could I’d grow the lime, too! This looks like a gorgeous recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! is so delicious and easy, isn’t it? I love Thai and they have so many soups to explore!
      Is it easy to grown lemongrass? I only have a balcony, does it survive winter? If I had the space I’d grow a lime as well! 🙂


    • It doesn’t survive the winter, but it’s super easy. Just stick it in the ground, basically, keep it watered. It’s good to plant several of lemongrass.I put my herbs in a pot on my kitchen steps, too, then I can bring them in during the winter. Sometimes I kill them off once they’re inside, I’m afraid none of my herbs seem to do fantastic indoors, but struggle. Come February, even plain old parsley, even if it’s a little lank is welcome in Minnesota!


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  3. Love this soup, forgot how quick and easy it is to make. Looks wonderful!


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