Tom Yum Talay - Hot & Sour Seafood Soup Recipe

The Thai Doctors Wife's Tom Yum Talay

This Thai soup recipe comes from the wife of country doctor I once knew in Southern Thailand. She had the good fortune to have a shrimp-farming relative living nearby. This simple spicy, fragrant lemongrass soup cooks in one pot in less than 30 minutes. Tom Yum is the classic spicy and sour soup from Thailand and is served with jasmine rice and one or two other dishes as part of a Thai family meal. The Thai word talay or taleh means 'sea' and of course refers to the mixed seafood in the soup. Note you can use any combination of seafood, including mussels as pictured.


  • 3 cups water
  • 1-2 pcs fresh lemon grass, tough tops cut off, cut into 3" lengths
  • 3 pcs garlic, smashed with the side of a cleaver
  • 2 tsp of sea salt (only!)
  • 2 small whole squid (optional), cleaned and sliced crosswise into 1/2" rings
  • 3/4-1 lb dark, oily flesh fish such as mackerel, cleaned and cut into 3" long pieces (including bones and head if you like)
  • 1/4 lb small to medium-sized shrimp, heads and shell removed, tail intact
  • 2-3 limes, juiced
  • 3-4 pcs fresh kaffir lime leaf
  • 4+ fresh Thai chilies (prik kee noo), as few or many as you like
  • Fish sauce (Golden Boy brand is recommended)
  • Fresh tomato, sliced lengthwise into 6 pieces
Tom Yum Soup Set

Tom Yum Soup Set - Fresh Ingredients To Get You Started

Our Tom Yum Soup Set set contains lemongrass, galangal chili peppers & kaffir lime leaves essential for making delicious Tom Yum Soup and is available in our online Thai Grocery.


Bring water, lemon grass, garlic, and sea salt to a boil for 4 minutes. There should be just enough water to cover the seafood once it is all added, by about 1 inch.

Add squid and fish. Boil another 2 minutes. Add shrimps. Add juice of 2 limes, kaffir lime leaf, chilies. Taste and adjust seasoning with fish sauce if needed. Add tomato. Turn off heat. Serve with large soup spoons and jasmine rice.

Notes: You can buy frozen whole mackerel and whole squid in markets catering to Asians, if you cannot find it fresh. Fresh shrimp are wonderful if you are fortunate enough to have a source!

Recipe Copyright © Temple of Thai 1999. Image © 2013 Praisaeng used under licensing from

Thai soup serving bowl

Hot Pot Soup Serving Bowl

Serve Tom Yum in this restaurant style Hot Pot Soup Serving Bowl, available from our Thai and Asian cookware section.

Shop online for prepared Thai Soup in our Thai food store.

Also see:

Visit our Asian grocery store - Temple of Thai