Tom Yam Soup (eng)

First of all, let me tell you a story. Ira and Andrey are my friends. Once they watched the movie «Traveliving» and were so inspired that one day packed their backpacks, bought one way ticket to Sri Lanka and went toward adventures, which they’ve had more than enough since then. Over the past two years the guys have managed to visit India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and several other countries. Asia greeted them with all its exotic magnificence. They got tanned, grew dreadlocks and learned how to drive a motor scooter and, moreover, to make traditional dishes of the countries they’ve visited.


All this time our communication was limited to Skype-calls and photo likes on social networks. In November, 2015 we happened to see each other in Goa. It was the first trip of my husband and I to India. We eyeballed everything, saturated sounds, colors and flavors of this big-hearted and wise country that has its knowledge to trace back to the mists of time. Meanwhile, Ira and Andrey in every way possible shared their love to India, told us about some landmarks and acquainted with some amazing people.

One day, when our laid-back, under-the-mild-sun vacation was coming to an end, they invited us for dinner at their place to taste spicy Thai soup tom yum, the recipe of which was revealed to Ira by one Thai woman (Ira, am I making up?)). That’s what she said, «Every missis makes Tom Yum her own way». Does it ring any bells? Just sub tom yum with borshch).

And now I have to give the floor to the chef because I remembered not even a single fu… (oops!) word, while taking pictures and being happy about learning something absolutely new in my life. Yesterday I asked Ira for the recipe of the soup. She described the process that good, that the only thing left was just to add some pictures. Let’s roll.

All natural, without paste, tom yum soup.

Ingredients (1 portion):

400-500 ml water

6-10 fresh tiger shrimps

1/6 part (1/3 half) chicken breast

30 g champignon mushrooms

1 medium tomato

2-3 branches of basil (author’s feature, in the original it is not used though)

1 chili pepper

150 ml coconut milk

3-4 pods of lemongrass

1 lime

4-5 ringlets of ginger root

¼ tsp turmeric

Chili powder, salt, black pepper to taste.

Prepare all the products beforehand. Chip the ginger.


Tenderize the lemongrass a bit and knot it to make it easier to extract from the soup.  The lemongrass, lime and ginger are added to the soup at the same time.



Chip the mushrooms and chicken breast.


The mushrooms and chicken also go to the soup together. I use surface-frozen breast because it’s easier to chop.

Cut the tomatoes into medium-sized dices.


Cut the basil.


Peel and devein the shrimps. You can leave tails on them.


Boil water, add the shrimp shells and heads, heat over medium heat for 15 minutes after bringing up. Separate the broth from the shells and heads.


Then everything is done step by step, without major time gaps as coconut milk quickly loses its flavor and properties. You’d better hit 3-5 minutes deadline.

While the broth is simmering, add salt,




and turmeric.


Stir. Pour coconut milk.


Put the ginger and lemongrass into the soup, squeeze juice out of lime.




Add the chicken and mushrooms.


Cook no more than 2 minutes. The chipped chicken breast is cooked very quickly.

Add the tomatoes, basil and hot chili pepper cut into rings.


Add the shrimps; cook no more than 1 minute. They will reach doneness in hot soup without being heated.


This soup tastes good only when it’s just been cooked, so there is no sense to store it in the fridge since it loses its flavor when reheated.


That evening we did not fail to take Ira’s advice about undesirable storage of tom yum — ate everything to the last slice with freshly cooked crusty toast.

The soup was so spicy because of ginger that I cried, but continued to eat because it was divine. On the edge between pain and pleasure ;).

Then we had fish baked on a fire but that’s a story for another post or you might get tired of so many words. There’s only a teeth bared picture so far).


I was fussing around with the camera, fussing and melting with languid, ropish night filled with smell of aroma sticks. Then I sat down on a step, not far from the fire on which the fish was being cooked, to get some rest. Having made couple of deep breaths, I realized one thing. Right at this moment we have people from Goa, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Taganrog, Druzhkovka and Snezhnoe gathered around fire in a house of an Indian priest, where my friends rent housing. Meanwhile, the traditional Thai soup is quite ready in the kitchen. We also mix English, Russian, Ukrainian and sign language to speak to each other. Everything’s clear, there are no argues. We’re exploring each other’s worlds, cultures, tastes, habits and features of mentality. And we are happy. We are just open-minded people, ready to share their knowledge. Come to the table, friends…

UPD. For my imagination I get A+, of course!!! The thing is that the recipe of the soup was told and shown to Ira by her Ceylonese friend on Sri Lanka, who worked as a chef in Belgium for 13 years. At an international dinner to Russia, Ukraine, India and Thailand joined Sri Lanka and Belgium. Although, as noted by my character, the story about Thai woman sounds better! 😉 In national and traditional way, perhaps…



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