Thai and Vietnamese food have always had a lot of similarities. Mostly because the countries are located very close to each other. A lot of the ingredients that are core to Vietnamese cuisine are also used in Thai cuisine. For example, fish sauce! I seriously can’t imagine any Vietnamese dish without some fish sauce. Because we use similar ingredients, a lot of our food is quite similar too. There was one dish I loved eating at this pho place in LA back in the day. It was called Lau Thai. It is a tom yum soup hot pot where people would gather around the table, drop raw seafood and veggies into the soup, and then fish them out to eat. I absolutely loved this ritual. Inspired by this experience, I created my own version of this tom yum soup.
The base to this tom yum soup recipe starts with a tom yum paste. I learned the basics of this paste from my trip to Chiang Mai a few years back, and my biggest takeaway is you can’t go wrong with fresh ingredients. Here I used lemongrass, fish sauce, Thai chili paste, ginger, lime leaves, shallots, red chilis, lime juice, sugar, and cilantro. Once you got all these ingredients roughly chopped, throw them in a food processor and let it do the work for you. I remember making this paste half asleep because it was a long week for me lol.
Once the paste is finished, heat it over medium high heat in a soup pot. Make sure it smells fragrant before adding in your onion, chicken stock, and water. You really don’t need much more than that because there is so much flavor in the paste. And I think simple recipes are the best! Once the soup boils, add in the rest of your ingredients. Since it’s all seafood, it cooks pretty quickly.
You can eat this tom yum soup with a few different things. I had it with Hodo Foods yuba noodles. I’ve been trying to reduce my intake of regular noodles, so these were seriously the best. You can also use vermicelli noodles, rice, or I can even see quinoa working. The best part about this tom yum soup recipe is making it your own.
Tom Yum Soup
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 stalk lemongrass cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 ginger 2 inch piece
- 4 keffir lime leaves
- 2 tbsp chili paste
- 3 red chilis
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 shallot
- ½ tsp granulated sugar
- ½ cup cilantro
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups water
- 4 king oyster mushrooms thinly sliced
- ½ lb tilapia cut into 2 inch pieces
- ½ lb mussels
- 4 roma tomatoes
- 1 lb shrimp
- 1 stalk green onions minced
- Tom Yum Paste: Combine all the ingredients up to the cilantro in a food processor. Pulse until a thick paste forms and all the ingredients are broken down.
- Heat the tom yum paste in a big soup pot over medium high heat. Cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the chicken broth, water, and onion. Bring the soup to a boil.
- Once boiling, add in the mushrooms, tilapia, mussels, tomatoes, and shrimp. Let it simmer for 15 minutes until all the seafood is cooked.
- Garnish with green onions and serve!