Tasty Tom Yum

There are definite benefits to living in Phuket, Thailand besides beautiful beaches, the tropical climate, or the laid back “mai pen rai” attitude. The best part of living in Thailand is the FOOD!

I have felt that there was little reason to make Thai food at home as the restaurants in the area could make it faster and cheaper than I could. That was until one of my very good friends, B,  invited me to her house to learn how to cook from her neighbor. I was so excited!

I had taken Thai cooking classes in the past and they were interesting, but the food was geared for the farang (foreigner) market and little touristy. I had a difficult time motivating myself to try cooking what I had learned in those classes when I had returned home. It wasn’t lack of knowledge or even availability of the ingredients, I think it was just feeling like I hadn’t really learned how to prepare the dishes fully.

Anyways, my friend’s neighbor, A, kindly offered to show us how to make Tom Yum Gai soup. She shopped for all the supplies and came over to teach us with the little english that she knows. I cannot get over her kindness or generosity, we even tried to pay her for her time and she staunchly refused. So awesome!

Tom Yum is a spicy soup that is usually made with seafood, I love it with fish (Tom Yum Pla). Learning to cook it with chicken (gai) was good though because chicken is easily found anywhere in the world and usually much cheaper.

On that note, the ingredients needed for this delicious soup should be easy for you to find in most markets, and if you can’t find them there, they will definitely have them in your local Asian market. If you can’t find them in either of those places you can order them on amazon.com.


Ingredients (to make one large bowl of soup):

1 Lime, quartered
1/8 c thinly sliced Galangal Root
1 Roma Tomato, quartered
1 shallot
2 Kaffir Lime Leaves, torn apart with center of leaf removed
1 Lemongrass, sliced diagonally and thinly
2-5 Whole Birds Eye’s Chilies (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 c mushrooms (type is up to you, we used NEED)
1/4 c Cilantro, chopped in 1 inch pieces
2 Spring Onions, chopped in 1 inch pieces
1/4 tsp Palm Sugar
2 c Water
1 Chicken Breast, boneless and skinless, thinly sliced (can be replaced with shrimp, fish, mixed seafood, or tofu)
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1/2 tsp Powdered Chicken Stock



1. Bring 2 cups water to boil in a saucepan.
2. Add the chicken, half the kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallot, chilies, and lemongrass to the water.

First ingredients simmering.

3. Add the chicken stock, dash of salt, and 1 tbsp. fish sauce to the pan.
5. Let simmer for 3 minutes.
6. Add tomato, mushrooms, 1 tbsp. fish sauce, palm sugar, lime (squeezed in), and rest of kaffir lime leaves.

All the ingredients (except for cilantro and spring onion) simmering.

7. Let simmer for another 5 minutes.
8. Serve in a bowl, garish with the chopped cilantro and spring onion.

The finished soup! Tom Yum Gai.

9. Let cool and Enjoy!

This soup is easy to make and even easier to eat! So give it a try!

A and I with our bowl of Tom Yum Gai.
A and I with our bowl of Tom Yum Gai.

*** A HUGE thank you to A for teaching us, and to Bee for inviting me to learn! ***


Now it’s your turn! Have you ever tried Tom Yum? What did you think? Have you made it before? We have more cooking classes from A coming up, what Thai dish would you like to know how to make? Leave a comment and join in the fun!

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