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Tom Yum Soup From Thailand

Thai Soup



½” galangal root, ½ teaspoon ground galangal, or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 lemongrass stalks, 2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, or 2 tablespoons lemon zest
5 Thai chiles, aka Bird’s eye chiles
1 tomato
1¼ pounds shrimp, peeled, deveined (36-40 count)
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4⅓ cups water
3½ tablespoons fish sauce
5 kaffir lime leaves
¼ cup lime juice
1 tablespoon palm sugar, coconut sugar, or sugar
⅓ cup fresh cilantro

Serves 6. Takes 35 minutes.


Peel and dice galangal. If necessary, remove outer, white layers of lemongrass. Mince remaining green part of lemongrass. Dice Thai chiles. Cut tomato into 8 wedges.

Add shrimp and butter to pan. Sauté for 90 seconds at medium-high heat on one side or until the bottom side of the shrimp turns red or orange. Move shrimp occasionally. Flip shrimp and sauté for another 90 seconds on one side or until the bottom side of the shrimp turns red or orange.
Move shrimp occasionally. Remove shrimp and its glaze from the pan and set them aside.

Add water to large pot. Add fish sauce, galangal, garlic, lemongrass, Thai chile, tomato wedges, kaffir lime leaves, lime juice, and palm sugar. Bring to boil using high heat. Stir occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add shrimp and its glaze. Mince cilantro. Garnish with cilantro.


1) I live in San Diego. To me, this recipe is printed right-side up. However, if I were to plunge all the way through the Earth and come out the other side, coming out somewhere near Antanarivo, Madagascar, this recipe would appear to be upside down. Oh no!

2) This is because I’d upside down as well. Fortunately, all I’d have to do read this recipe is to stand upright. Going from handstands to standing on their feet, is how people on the other side of the globe adapt to a round Earth. Crazy, huh?


Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on



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