Shrimps in Tomato Soup – Thai’s Tom Yam Style | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Shrimps in Tomato Soup – Thai’s Tom Yam Style

Shrimps in Tomato Soup - Thai's Tom Yum Style

I love Thai’s tom yam goong aka hot and sour soup with shrimps or prawns. While inspired by Thai’s recipes for making the soup, I also love using shells of shrimps and tomatoes instead of beef, pork or chicken bones for preparing the stock. Hope it causes no offense if I still call this a tom yam goong, but a meatless version cooked with shrimps’ shells apart from the traditional lemon grass, lemon leaves, lime juice, galangal …

I have meant to cook this soup for weeks, however my plan has been kept postponed as I haven’t seen quality shrimps but farm breed ones in my recent visits to the wet market.

One day, a friendly fish monger reminded me that less seafoods would be available when entering the ‘Fishing Suspension Period (休魚期)’, a policy imposed by the government that forbids fishing in specified areas from around June to August, aiming to help nurture the growth of more fishes.

As the plan almost faded out from my mind, happily I was stopped by a box of frozen shrimps in the supermarket I happened to visit on last Saturday. Among various packs of frozen foods, it was those little words ‘sea caught’ which seemingly jumped out and shouted to me. So excited was me with my discovery that I invited hubby to dine at home than looking for foods elsewhere.

Sea Caught Shrimps

Ingredients for Tom Yam Goong with Tomatoes

  • Ingredients
  • 6 shrimps, ~180g
  • 2 tomatoes, ~250g, quartered
  • 3 heads of shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 head of fresh galangal, sliced
  • 2 stalks of lemon grass, crashed and sliced (remove any bruised outer bulbs)
  • 2 bird’s eye chilies, sliced
  • 4 lemon leaves, make some cuts on them
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 3 cups water
  • Marinades for shrimps
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp corn starch
  • Seasonings
  • 1 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili paste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste

Shelled Shrimps

Tom Yam Goong with Tomatos


Defrost shrimps, rinse, peel, devein them but with tails intact. Marinades them for about 15 minutes. Reserve heads and shells of shrimps.

Over moderate heat, heat 2 tea spoons of oil in a saucepan, sauté shallots, tomatoes, shrimps’ heads, shells till fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in 3 cups of water, add in sliced galangal and lemon grasses, bring it to a boil. Turn to low heat, let the stock simmer for about 15 minutes,

This is probably the most tedious task; pick out all shrimp’s heads, shells and discard them.

Add in peeled and marinaded shrimps, lemon leaves, chilies and seasonings (except salt). I do not add lemon leaves earlier because I find them turn bitter if cooked for too long. But in order to have their lemony flavor infused into the soup, I make some cuts on the leaves. Turn heat to medium and let the soup boil for another 3 minutes, that is, to cook the shrimps just right but not overcooked. Add salt to taste, serve hot (it is not only hot but spicy, so adjust the amount of chilies to your preference).

I sometimes serve this simply as a soup with garnish of coriander, but occasionally I will also have it served as a broth for soup rice or noodles. How would you usually serve your tom yam goong? Enjoy yours anyway!

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  1. the lacquer spoon

    Thanks for the elegant version of Thai cuisine! Indeed, shrimp skins and heads have lots of flavours to use for broth. With your soup, we can survive the summer heat 🙂

  2. penny aka jeroxie

    That looks mighty good to me. Love the spices. I just love the chillies and prawns!

  3. Angie's Recipes

    This Thai soup looks utterly delicious!

  4. Astrofiammante

    Very good, I like a lot … I’ve eaten crustaceans tonight;))

  5. 5 Star Foodie

    Beautiful and delicious soup! Sounds wonderful with chilies and lemongrass!

  6. Sook

    This soup reminds me of one of my favorite Korean food! I love using shelled shrimp in my cooking too, especially in soups. There’s so much great flavor in the shells. Thank you so much for your lovely comment on my blog. I, too, feel your passion in cooking. I always admire your posts and photos!!

  7. TasteHongKong

    @Sook, You are most welcome and thanks for your kind words too. Actually, it is also good for me to let out my thoughts.

  8. tigerfish

    The first time I have heard of 休魚期 is like fish going on vacation! ha! …
    I am ok without the meat…just those tomatoes and shrimps will do just good, I am serious.

  9. Heavenly Housewife

    I’ve never had tom yam soup, but I love all the food you make.
    Wishing you a fantastic weekend ahead.
    *kisses* HH

  10. TasteHongKong

    @tigerfish, I think it is a policy applies to China sea only, so it may be only those fishes there having vacations : ).

    @Heavenly Housewife, Thanks for granting me such a privilege. Have a great weekend too : ).

  11. pigpigscorner

    it’s so hard to get prawns with shells here! Love the flavours, so spicy and seafoody!

  12. noobcook

    I just know the soup is heavenly with the prawn heads and tomato as a base. You’re making me seriously hungry here.

  13. Mary Moh

    Tom yum soup….awww…..that’s very delicious….my favourite! I have to cook this again….mmmm. I love to use tiger prawns…big and juicy.

  14. Christine@Christine's Recipes

    Your variation tom yam soup with shrimps is gorgeous. I also find prawns are not always available here. If I happen to see some big and fresh ones, I’d be very happy and buy some back home to cook up a storm.

  15. food-4tots

    It’s indeed very disappointing when we can’t find the ingredients for our cooking. I have this problem too. Tom Yam is my all-time favourite soup! Looks so appetizing! With your big and juicy prawns, I can easily finish 2 bowls of rice. 😉

  16. Little Inbox

    I use only tom yam paste, as I have no idea how to make it from scratch. You use all fresh ingredients. That inspires me.

  17. Amy @ cookbookmaniac

    I love Tom Yum Goong. This looks elegant and comforting. I would be able to eat quite a few bowls of this in one sitting : )

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