Thai Seafood Soup, Tom Yum Talay in Thai, is my all time favorite Thai soup. If you haven’t had it before, I can promise you that it’s not like any soup you’ve ever had. It has big flavor. It’s fresh, salty, sweet, sour, spicy and light. Mmmm… this definitely makes me miss Thailand. This soup is also good for you. We use a lot of fresh herbs and veggies in it. If you’re not into all seafood or can’t find a seafood mix, just use what you like. You can also use chicken instead of seafood. I’m using frozen mixed seafood, shrimp, scallop, calamari and mussel.
Here are the veggies and herbs, cilantro leaves, tomato, lime, Thai chilies, galangal, shallots, kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass. These all together will give the broth a nice flavor.
The other vegetable that I love to use and it’s super easy to find is white button mushrooms.
You’re probably not familiar with some of these herbs I mentioned earlier so let me try my best to describe them. 🙂 You can find all of these special herbs in your local Thai or Asian grocery store.
Starting with lemon grass. Lemongrass is widely used as a culinary herb in Asian cuisines and also as medicinal herb in India. It has a subtle citrus flavor and can be dried and powdered, or used fresh. We’re using 1 fresh stalk of lemongrass today. Cut it into 2-3 inch long. Discard the leafy part. Use the back of your knife to pound it, just to bruise it to release the flavor. We don’t actually eat it. It’s used to just flavor the soup.
Next, kaffir lime leaves. We don’t eat it either, only used to flavor the soup. Kaffir lime is a citrus fruit native to tropical Asian. The skin is used in many Thai dishes. They are usually mixed in with curry paste. It smells citrusy. We’ll use 4 leaves in our soup today. You can tear them a little bit to release the flavor.
Another one we only use to flavor the soup and don’t actually eat it, Galangal. It is in same family as ginger. The aroma of galangal is different than ginger. Ginger is warm and spicy. Galangal has a sharp, sweet taste and smells like a blend of black pepper and pine needles. I sliced it with a sharp knife. We’ll use 4 slices today. If you can’t find it, it’s not a big deal. I like to add it to mine but some Thai Tom Yum recipes do not require it, so you can leave it out if you can’t find it.
Another herb that you probably are more familiar with is cilantro or coriander. It’s used in many Thai food dishes and we are going to chop and use it at the end to garnish our Thai Seafood Soup today.
Shallot, it has milder taste than onions and I like using it in my Thai Seafood Soup (Tom Yum Talay). If you can’t find it, you can substitute with red onion. I’m using 2 shallots in this recipe and they were quartered before being dropped into the broth.
Thai chilies, these guys are tiny but super spicy. You don’t have to use them if you’re not a fan of spicy food. I’m using 4 today. I smashed them to release the spiciness.
For the broth, I use seafood stock. If you want to make the chicken soup instead of seafood, use chicken broth.
Fish sauce, it is pungent and has intense salty flavor. We’ll use 2 tablespoons in our soup today. It seems like a lot but trust me, it will be good. We’re making a big pot of soup.
Last but not least, Nam Prik Pao or Thai chili paste, it is made of many ingredients, sugar, shallot, garlic, soya bean oil, dried shrimp, tamarind, salt and other spices. It’s not spicy, but rather sweet and a little fishy since it has shrimp in it. We’ll use about 2 tablespoons in our Thai Seafood Soup (Tom Yum Talay) today.
Let’s cook some food!
Add seafood stock, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, tomato, galangal, and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
Add the mushrooms. Let them simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until they’re soft.
Add 2 tablespoons of Thai chili paste. Stir until combined.
Add the seafood (shrimp, scallop, mussel and calamari).
Simmer over medium heat 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp turns pink and mussels have opened. Scallop should be firm to the touch. From my experience, they will be cooked about the same time. Do not overcook them. Once they are cooked, turn off the heat. Keep in mind they will continue cooking because your broth is still hot.
Scoop the soup to the serving bowl. Since we don’t eat galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, I leave them in the pot. But you can put them in the serving bowl if you’d like. Sprinkle with some fresh cilantro, add smashed chilies, and lime juice. How much lime and how much chilies? Good questions. I like it spicy and sour, so I use 4 Thai chilies and 2 limes for the whole pot of soup. It should taste salty, a little sweet and sour. For the spiciness, use less or no chilies if you don’t like spicy food.
Serve hot with some Jasmin rice or quinoa. Enjoy!
I hope you give this Thai Seafood Soup (Tom Yum Talay) a try. The recipe card is below.
- 32 oz. seafood stock
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons Thai chili paste
- 3 cups mixed seafood (shrimp, scallop, mussel and calamari)
- 8 oz. white button mushrooms, quartered
- 1 large tomato, quartered
- 1 stalk of lemon grass, cut into 2-3 inches
- 4 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 shallots, quartered
- 4 slices of galangal (optional)
- the juice of 2 limes
- 4 smashedThai chilies (more or less and totally optional)
- Add seafood stock, lemongrass, lime leaves, shallots, tomato, galangal, and 2 tablespoons of fish sauce in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
- Add the mushrooms. Let them simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until mushrooms are soft.
- Add 2 tablespoons of Thai chili paste. Stir until combined.
- Add the seafood (shrimp, scallop, mussel and calamari). Simmer over medium heat 2-3 minutes, or until shrimp turns pink and mussels have opened. Scallop should be firm to the touch. Do not overcook them. Once they are cooked, turn off the heat.
- Scoop the soup to the serving bowl. Since we don't eat galangal, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves, you can leave them in the pot or can put them in the serving bowl if you'd like. Sprinkle with some fresh cilantro, add smashed chilies, and lime juice. Taste it, add more or less. It should taste salty, a little sweet and sour. For the spiciness, use less or no chilies if you don't like spicy food.
I like it spicy and sour, so I use 4 Thai chilies and 2 limes for the whole pot of soup. Use more or less depends on how you like it.