Make the easiest tom yum soup in 15 minutes! Made of slices of fish salmon, lime, and tom yum paste. Spicy, sour, and savory–everything you love about this most popular Thai soup is here!
Tom Yum Salmon Soup
Tom Yum Soup is a quintessential dish in Thai cuisine. It's a light, flavorful, and aromatic soup that packs a punch with its spicy, sour, and savory taste.
What we're making today is a delicious and healthy twist to this classic Thai dish. Traditionally, the sour soup is made with shrimp/ prawn (called Tom Yum Goong) and sometimes chicken, but for this recipe, we're going to use salmon.
What Does Tom Yum Soup Taste Like?
Tom Yum soup has a unique flavor profile that combines spicy, sour, and savory flavors. The sourness comes from the lime juice that's added to the broth, while the spiciness comes from the chili peppers.
The savory flavor comes from the fish sauce, which also gives the soup its umami taste. The addition of fresh herbs and spices like lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and coriander can enhance the flavor of the soup even more.
Here's what you need:
I love using salmon fillet in tom yum soup because it has a mild flavor that complements the spicy and sour notes of the soup. It is also convenient as it's almost always accessible and prep time is much easier than using shrimp and or whole fish.
The base of tom yum soup is typically made with lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves (also known as makrut lime leaves), galangal, chili peppers, and fish sauce. These ingredients are simmered together to create a fragrant and flavorful broth.
For convenience, we're using a ready-made tom yum paste as the base for the soup. It contains the necessary ingredients including chili paste.
You can buy this in Asian grocery stores and online shopping sites. Note that spiciness may vary so always start with a small amount, about a teaspoon, then go from there.
Recipe Tip: To boost the flavor of the paste, you can add at least one fresh ingredient like kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass.
Add-ins and Other Ingredients
- Stock/Broth - Use fish stock or chicken stock. For convenience, I usually use 1 piece of chicken bouillon for every 4 cups of water.
- Fish Sauce - To deepen the flavor of the soup, add fish sauce. This is a vital ingredient in most Thai dishes.
- Sugar - Use white sugar. Skip this if the tom yum paste you're using already has sugar.
- Lime Juice - What makes tom yum soup sour is lime juice. Use freshly squeezed
- Coriander/ Cilantro leaves
How to Make It
And here's how to make it:
- In a medium-sized pot, bring the chicken or fish stock to a boil. To infuse the broth with flavor, add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal if using. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Add fish sauce and hard-to-cook vegetables like radishes. When it starts to soften, add tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Continue to cook until vegetables are half done i.e. not fully cooked.
- Add slices of salmon followed by tom yum paste. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Finally, add lime juice and simmer for another minute. Do a taste test. Add more lime fish sauce or sugar as needed.
And that's it! Transfer to a bowl and garnish with coriander/cilantro and chopped Thai chilies before serving.
Tom yum soup is best served freshly cooked while it's still warm. I personally like having it for lunch or dinner.
Here are some traditional Thai dishes that are often served alongside it to balance out its spiciness and acidity:
Steamed Rice - often served alongside Tom Yum Soup to balance out the spiciness of the soup.
Pad Thai - Pad Thai is a classic Thai noodle dish that features stir-fried noodles, vegetables, and protein, such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu.
Spring Rolls - Spring rolls are a crispy and flavorful appetizer that is often served alongside this soup. They can be filled with vegetables, meat, or seafood. Grilled Meat or Seafood:
Grilled meat or seafood, such as chicken, beef, shrimp, or fish, make a great main course. The smoky and savory flavors of the grilled meat or seafood complement the spicy and sour flavors of the soup.
Add Vegetables like tomatoes, daikon radish, eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms like beech mushrooms, shitake, straw mushrooms, and button mushrooms.
For more protein, add slices of firm tofu, frozen shrimp, and imitation crab sticks.
To make tom yum soup creamy, add a small amount of evaporated milk or coconut milk. This also helps tone down the spiciness of the chili paste.
To make it vegetarian, skip the fish sauce and substitute it with light soy sauce. Instead of using chicken stock, use vegetable broth/bouillon.
Easy Tom Yum Soup with Salmon
- 1 piece fish bouillon (or chicken)
- 4 cups water
- 1 small onion
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon white sugar (note 1)
- 8 oz beech mushroom (note 2)
- 1 tomato
- ¼ cup daikon radish (optional)
- 1 pound salmon fillet (slice into ½ inch thickness)
- 2-3 teaspoon tom yum paste (exclude the oil)
- 2-3 tablespoons lime juice (add more if preferred)
- bunch cilantro/coriander
- In a medium-sized pot, add water, onion, and a piece of bouillon cube. Add the lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and galangal if using. Simmer for 5-10 minutes to infuse the flavor.
- Add fish sauce, sugar, and hard-to-cook vegetables like radishes. When it starts to soften, add tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Continue to cook until the vegetables are half done.
- Add slices of salmon and tom yum paste. Start with 2 teaspoons. Simmer for 2 minutes.
- Pour lime juice and simmer for another minute. Do a taste test. Add more lime juice, sugar, fish sauce, or tom yum paste based on preference. Continue simmering for 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rice or your other favorite Thai dishes. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Sugar - some store-bought tom yum paste already have sugar. You may skip this if preferred.
- Vegetables - other vegetables you can add are eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms like beech mushrooms, shitake, straw mushrooms, and button mushrooms.
- You can find these in many Asian grocery stores. The dried version of kaffir lime is also available online, though fresh is always better!
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