Thai Hot & Sour Soup (Tom Yum Gai ต้มยำไก่)

Thai Hot & Sour Soup

I know, I know – it’s hot outside and you’re probably not craving a piping hot and spicy soup. Nevertheless, my trip to the Asian market had me excited to revisit some old Thai recipes (and photos from Thailand, below).  One of my favorites is Tom Yum Gai, which might sound appetizing on a cool, June Gloom day.

If you’re ever in need of a clear, broth-based soup with various facets (spicy, sour, salty) – do try this Thai favorite. I prefer Tom Yum to it’s Tom Kha counterpart (which uses coconut milk), because it is light and fresh and can be had alongside another dish.  You can think of this as Thailand’s answer to Miso soup.

Note: Most of the ingredients below can be found at your local Asian market. 

Tom Yum Gai ต้มยำไก่ (Thai Hot & Sour Soup )

  • 6 cups chicken stock or vegetable broth
  • 1.5 lbs. chicken (breast or thigh, your preference) cut into 1″ piecesTom Yum Gai
  • 1-1.5 Thai chili peppers (for extra spice, use 2 chilis), pounded to release flavor
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2-inch piece of galangal root, sliced thinly
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into 2″ pieces
  • 2 cups straw mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choice), halved
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • juice of 1.5 limes
  • 4 tbsp. fish sauce
  • Chopped green onion to garnish
  1. Bring broth to boil in a medium-sized pot over high heat. Upon a rolling boil, add kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass and reduce heat to low-medium. Cook for five minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms, fish sauce, Thai chili pepper, and tomatoes and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  3. Taste the broth at this point to be sure it is to your liking – make any adjustments by adding lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal, or fish sauce.
  4. Add the chicken and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Once the chicken is cooked, taste the broth again to be sure there is a good balance of spicy, sour, salty, and sweet and adjust accordingly.
  5. Serve in small bowls and garnish with chopped green onion. Enjoy!
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