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Hot and sour prawn soup, Tom yum goong


With the fragrance of kaffir lime and lemongrass, the heat of ginger and chilli, and the tang of fresh lime juice this soup is mouth-wateringly good.

Tom yum goong is a Thai classic, loved for its heady fresh mix of herbs and spices. 

Serve it on its own; alongside a bowl of rice; or with cooked glass noodles or rice vermicelli. If you are not yet harvesting your own Asian herbs and spices, you could cheat and add a Thai Red Chilli paste to your prawn stock instead of a homegrown paste.


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What you need

2 coriander roots, well washed

2cm piece ginger, roughly chopped

2cm piece galangal, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves

2 red shallots, roughly chopped

1 red chilli

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

12 green king prawns

1.5 litres chicken stock

2 stems lemongrass, white part only

3 kaffir limes leaves, thinly sliced

12 cherry tomatoes

4 button mushroom, sliced

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2-3 tablespoons lime juice

Coriander leaves


What to do

In a mortar and pestle grind the coriander root, ginger, galangal, garlic, shallot and chilli into a coarse paste.

Peel and de-vein the prawns, but leave the little tails on.

Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan and sauté the prawn heads until they turn pink, then add the chilli paste, and stir until fragrant.

Add the stock, and lemon grass (bash the stem with the pestle first to release the flavour) and simmer for 15 minutes.

Strain the stock, pressing to extract all the flavour, then put the liquid back in the saucepan.

Add the kaffir lime leaves, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms to the strained soup, and slowly bring back to the boil, then add the prawns, the fish sauce and lime juice, and simmer a few minutes until prawns are just cooked.

Taste and adjust seasonings, then serve sprinkled with fresh coriander leaves.

Serves 4




3 more ways with fresh ginger

Ginger marmalade

Peel and finely chop 500g fresh ginger. Put it in a pan with 5 cups of water and the juice of a lemon and boil until the ginger is tender, 15-45 minutes, depending on the age of the ginger. Add 4 cups of sugar and 50ml of liquid pectin and bring slowly to boil, skimming surface. Boil rapidly until set, then ladle into sterilised jars. Spread on toast or scones, or swirl into natural yoghurt topped with toasted almond slivers

Ginger Jam. Photo -

Pickled ginger

Use a kilo of fresh young ginger so that you only need to rub off the skin. Slice thinly, using a mandolin if you have one. Sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons salt and let sit for an hour or so. Dry with paper towel and place in a large sterilised jar. In a saucepan bring 3 cups of rice vinegar and 2 cups of sugar to the boil and pour over the ginger. Cool, store in the fridge and serve with sushi.


Ginger and lime cordial

Place 10cm of peeled, sliced ginger, the zest and juice of a lime, third cup caster sugar and 1.5 litres water in a saucepan. Dissolve sugar over a low heat then bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool, then strain, and store in the fridge. Add to soda water or use for cocktails.


Text: Robin Powell

About this article

Author: Robin Powell