Arguably Thailand’s most famous dish, tom yam kung (also written as tom yum goong/gung) has a reputation for being universally loved by Thais as well as overseas visitors to Thailand. The classic spicy shrimp soup can vary in terms of spiciness and the thickness of the broth which can range in colour from clear to a rich red/copper as individual restaurants and cooks place their own unique spin on this quintessentially Thai dish.
The main ingredient in the soup is shrimps (kung in Thai). Shrimps by themselves are a great source of protein, but when combined with an array of healthy vegetables and herbs, it makes tom yum kung into a nutritious bowl of goodness that is hard to resist. Here are just some of the reasons why tom yam kung isn’t just tasty, but it is officially good for you too.
Eating chillies is known to be beneficial for blood circulation, the heart and the respiratory system and also helps to burn fat.
Kaffir lime leaves aid digestion and are good for the teeth and gums.
Lemongrass has an abundance of positive attributes for the body which include aiding digestion, fighting coughs and colds and having a cooling effect on body temperature.
Limes are know to be good for digestion and are also a source of vitamin C which helps to combat colds and promotes healthy skin.
Tom Yum Kung Recipe
The suggested tom yum kung recipe below is from Temple of Thai:
- 4 cups of water
- 2 stalks of fresh lemongrass. Trim off the very end of the root and smash with the side of a cleaver or chef’s knife and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 slices fresh galangal root (smashed) or 2 pieces if dried
- 3 fresh kaffir lime leave (4 pieces if dried)
- 1 tbsp. tamarind paste (with or without seeds)
- 1 tbsp. fish sauce (nam plaa)
- 3/4 lb shrimps, medium to large size, shelled and de-veined; butterfly if desired
- 12 fresh Thai chilli peppers, whole or 2 medium sized jalapenos. Cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1/2 small white onion. Cut into 1/4 inch slices
- 2 tbsp. roasted chilli paste (nam prik pao)
- 1 (16 oz.) can straw mushrooms, drained and rinsed
- 1 small ripe tomato. Cut into wedges 1/4 inch thick
- 1 small lime, squeezed
- 2 sprigs fresh cilantro
- Bring water to boil over high heat in a medium-sized saucepan
- Add the lemon grass, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, fish sauce and tamarind paste (break apart the tamarind paste with your fingers as you add it)
- Add the shrimp, bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes
- Add the onion, nam prik pao and straw mushrooms
- Boil for another 7 minutes until the shrimp is cooked through
- Add the chilli peppers and tomatoes
- Turn off the heat
- Add the lime juice
- Taste to adjust the seasoning, adding fish sauce to taste
- Garnish with cilantro if desired and serve