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Turn up the Heat: Hot and Sour Prawns Soup

Turn up the heat hot and sour prawn soup

Sawadee Ka...

Bam's Kitchen is live on location in Chiang Mai. My eyes are watering, my fingers are burning and I just started coughing violently. Have you ever gotten the mist of a little bird chili in your eye? Yikes, I'm feeling the pain!!!

Warning Thai chilis are hot! Really hot! I mean super-duper hot! Wash your hand and don't touch anything else until you wash them. Our cooking instructor even told the men in our cooking group to make sure they washed their hands before they went to the washroom. (I think that says it all right there) Double Yikes!

However the heat is a good heat and very flavorful if balanced out correctly in this delicious hot and sour prawns soup. The beauty in Thai cooking is you can balance the flavors to your specific tastes and needs. If you like things very mild you can leave the chilies out or put in a very small amount or leave them whole or remove the seeds. If you like it fiery hot you can add as many chilies as you like or crush them before putting them into the dish to help extract out the oils out of the chili peppers.

Hot and Sour Prawns Soup: Tom Yam Kung (ต้มยำ)

Recipe from the Smart Cook Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai, Thailand


  • 50 grams prawns (can substitute other seafood, tofu, or even chicken if you wish)
  • 3-4 pieces of sliced lemon grass
  • 3-4 pieces thinly sliced galangal (Thai ginger)
  • 2 kaffir limes leaves torn in half
  • 1-3 fresh or dried chilies (crushed if you want them hot)
  • 30 grams straw mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 30 grams onion, cut into quarters
  • 30 grams tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon sliced coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1-1.5 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander for garnish
  • Turn up the heat hot and sour prawn soup

Step 1: Boil the chicken stock in a pot, add lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and chillies, cook until boiling.

Step 2: Add straw mushrooms and onion in the pot with a gentle stir. Wait for a few minutes until everything is cooked.

Step 3: Add prawns, tomatoes and season with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice to taste. Turn off heat.

Step 4: Sprinkle with coriander and ready to serve. My family loves it with jasmine rice on the side to help settle the heat and flavor of the dish.

Turn up the heat hot and sour prawn soup

There has been a lot of chopping, prepping and cooking going on today here at the Smart Cook Thai Cookery School. Still yet to come, are many delicious homemade curry pastes and dishes. However, for right now, we are enjoying the temple tour in Chiang Mai...

Turn up the heat hot and sour prawn soup



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Healthy World Cuisine (HWC) Magazine is committed to provide a lifestyle traveling culinary experience featuring fresh ingredients, easy recipe preparation and culinary enjoyment. READ MORE...

Turn up the Heat: Hot and Sour Prawns Soup

By HWC Magazine  , , , , , , , ,   

January 6, 2012

  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yields: 2 Adults or 1 Hungry Teenager


shrimp -

lemongrass -

gargangal -

kaffir lime leaves -

chilies -

straw mushrooms -

onions -

tomato -

coriander -

sugar or sugar alternative -

lime juice -

fish sauce -

chicken stock -


  • YUM! I love hot and sour prawn soup!

    • Thanks Joanne, Can you get Kaffir lime leaves where you live? BAM

  • Sounds wonderful…make mine medium-hot 😉
    More amazing photos, as well!

    • Marie, I always knew you were a spicy girl! Thanks for your nice comments.

  • Oh yum, this is one of my all time favourite soups!

    • Me too! It is especially yummy on these cooler days. It warms you up from the inside out. Take Care, BAM

  • Sounds like an amazing soup!

    • Thank you. I hope you are having a great 2012. Take Care, BAM

  • I love lemongrass in soups, it’s such a nice delicate flavor. This looks great!

    • Lemongrass smells so delightful. I love it in recipes. I also purchased some lemongrass “soap” while in Thailand as I very much just love this vibrant and fresh smell to start my day. Take care, BAM

  • I would have never thought to add Prawns to a soup before.. but I know I will be trying this soup as soon as I go out and purchase some prawns. I can’t wait to try this

    • Chicken and tofu work great as well in this dish. Take Care, BAM

  • I’m thankful for this post! This soup and recipe sounds wonderful and I’m bookmarking this and try soon! I love Thai food and this is great!

    • Thanks Nami-san! Thai food is a great mix of many Asian flavors from India and China and many other countries makes for some very yummy dishes. Take care, BAM

  • I bet that is so tasty.

    • It is so yummy with all of the spices. Like an explosion of flavors going on in your mouth. Thanks Recipe adapters!

  • I love hot and sour soup! What great photos!

    • Hello Jill, I am having a blast here in Thailand doing my favorite thing- cooking.

  • Mary

    This sounds delicious. I would have to quiet the chilis a bit, but I know my family will love this. I hope you have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

    • Hello Mary, me too, I like my soup more mild and my teenage boys like it really hot so we usually come up up with a medium hot compromise.

  • Dear Bobbi,

    This is a great recipe! Luckily we can get really good quality ready-made tom yum paste and fresh seafood in abundance here in Sydney. This is really one of our fave soups in winter to warm up and it’s so fragrant and appetizing too!

    • Hello Chopinand and thank you! I am glad to hear that you can get all the ingredients where you live. I think there are many substitutions that can be made for people that do not have access to an Asian food market. I am glad to hear that they have Tom Yum paste in Sydney which has all of your Thai required spices in the mix. Kaffir lime Leaves is really one of the only ingredients in this dish that does not have a good substitute. It is a great warming soup. Take Care, BAM

  • This looks just incredible. Great photos too!

    • Thanks Greg. I’m actually shocked that any of my pictures actually even turned out as I was still overcome from chillies in the eye….

  • Zoe @ Pantry and Fridge

    You’re right! Double yikes says it all but DOUBLE YUM!!!

    • Double Double yikes!!! When our culinary instructor was telling us this story I was both laughing and crying from the heat that was coming off the cutting boards, from all of the chillies. Take care

  • I was craving this last night – what a great privilege to have learn the recipe from the locals and to now be able to share the recipe! I’ll be making this for sure, love my laksa hot so this should be good! PS I have once rubbed my eye after slicing birds eye chillies, it was swollen up for a day!

    • I feel your pain. Bird chillies are so hot, even just the smell of them being cut up sometime takes your breath away.

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