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Tom Yum Talay Recipe (Thai Seafood Soup)

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This tom yum talay recipe recreates the authentic Thai seafood soup you’d find at your favorite Thai restaurant. By adding your favorite seafood such like fish, shrimp, and squid, along with fresh kaffir lime leaves and other spices, this hot and sour soup is the perfect choice for anyone longing for authentic Thai flavors. It’s spicy, zesty, and simply irresistible!

Tom yum talay, Thai seafood soup ready in pot, showcasing shrimp, squid, lime, galangal, kaffir lime, and more spices.

This spicy Thai soup recipe comes together quickly in combination with my tom yum paste. It’s a must-have for making this recipe.

After making this, try a variation with shrimp only: tom yum goong. For a variation with chicken, try this popular chicken soup recipe: tom yum gai soup with evaporated milk. Leftover seafood can be used in yum talay, a popular Thai seafood salad!

What is tom yum talay

Tom yum talay is a traditional Thai seafood soup beloved for its spicy and sour flavors. Often prepared with mixed seafood like shrimp, mussels, and scallops, the soup broth is enriched with fresh spices like kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal.

Thai seafood soup recipe

This Thai tum yum seafood is full of hot, spicy, and sour flavors all rolled into one comforting bowl of deliciousness. What sets this recipe apart from others is its simplicity, thanks to my homemade tom yum soup paste.

Thai cooking has never been easier – just prep the paste in advance, store it for later use, and whip up this healthy soup during your busy weekdays.

Close-up of Thai seafood soup showcasing prawns, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, lemongrass, galangal, garnished with a lime slice.

This Thai talay soup is one of the best you’ll ever taste. It’s made with the freshest ingredients you can find, and the best part is that it’s entirely customizable to suit your taste. Fancy it spicier? Go ahead and add some chilies for an extra kick. More seafood? Throw in as much as you like!

Thai cooking is all about balancing the flavors to your taste. Balance out the sweet, salty, sour, and spicy elements to suit your taste and serve up a crowd-pleaser.

Thai tom yum soup paste next to tom yum soup in a cooking pot.
My Thai tom yum soup paste is a must-have for making this spicy seafood soup.

Try my tom yum pla recipe for a lighter version with just fish. Tom kha gai is a delicious coconut chicken soup perfect for kids.

Why try this hot sour soup

  • It’s authentic: This hot and sour soup is full of those authentic ingredients that define the tom yum flavor.
  • Customizable: Whether you like your soup with more heat or loaded with seafood, this recipe comes with easy instructions to customize the ingredients and flavors to make it just right for you.
  • It’s healthy: Tom yum is known to be a healthy soup, full of nutritious ingredients. It’s a guilt-free choice that doesn’t skimp on flavor.
  • Easy: With the homemade tom yum paste ready to go, this soup comes together effortlessly. There’s a big list of ingredients typically used in Southeast Asian cuisine, but it’s perfect for any home cook as the cooking process is so simple.

Tom yum flavor

Tom yum flavor is a balance of sour and spicy, with a gentle aftertaste of savory and sweet. It’s a staple in Thai cuisine that’s beloved around the world.

Three key ingredients are lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. To nail that authentic taste of tom yum, this trio is a non-negotiable. Try finding them fresh at a nearby Asian grocery store for the best flavor and aroma.

Premade package of galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass.
In Thailand, premade packages of galangal, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves are readily available at food markets.

Known to be one of the most popular Thai dishes, this soup is what defines Thai food. It’s made with fresh, natural ingredients and full of complex flavors yet simple cooking.

Tom yum talay is one of the healthiest soups you’ll find. It’s great for your body and spirit, and full of fresh herbs and spices. It’s beloved for its many health benefits and perfect for warming up during a cold winter’s day.

This is one of my favorite soups, and my recipe is here for you to try.

For more of that delicious sweet sour spicy combo, try my dry tom yum noodles and tom yum fried rice!

Ingredients

Ingredients can be sourced at Asian grocery stores and Asian markets.
The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the end of this post.


Tom yum talay ingredients labeled: shrimp, squid, water, tom yum paste, evaporated milk, herbs, lime, salt, flavor seasoning, galangal, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chili paste.
  • Tom yum paste – My homemade paste is better than store-bought and combines tamarind paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, large dried chilies, garlic, and shallots. Just a spoonful of this paste transforms any dish into an aromatic base of tom yum.
  • Thai chili paste – Nam prik pao is made with a blend of fish sauce, shrimp paste, lots of chilies, and more. It adds depth and a spicy kick with complex flavors. It’s a versatile ingredient and definitely a pantry staple if you’re cooking Thai food often.
  • Mixed seafood – You can use any seafood mix like shrimp, mussels, fillet, calamari, prawns, crab, shrimp, etc.
  • Galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves – Galangal adds a peppery note, distinct from ginger. Lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves infuse the soup with a citrus aroma that cannot be substituted.
  • Straw mushrooms, tomatoes, onions – This is my choice of vegetables for Thai tom yum soup. Feel free to customize with your favorites.
  • Cilantro, green onions, coriander – These herbs brighten up the soup with fresh and lemony notes. Make sure to garnish with any of these before serving.
  • RosDee flavor seasoning – Rosdee is a popular Thai seasoning powder that acts as a flavor enhancer. It adds umami and a balanced savory taste to the soup. It kind of rounds out the flavors and was commonly used in the Thai restaurants I worked at. You can find this in most Asian supermarkets. It acts similar to a stock or bouillon and comes in various flavors including chicken and pork. You can use chicken stock or bouillon if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Evaporated milk – This adds a creamy dimension to the soup. It makes it slightly richer and smoother, unlike the clear broth, which is more spicy. You can experiment with full-fat coconut milk for a variation.
  • Water – The soup’s base, blending all the complex flavors together.
  • Lime – Lime adds that sour note that’s essential to tom yum. Make sure to use fresh lime juice and not the bottled stuff.
  • Salt – Lastly, a pinch of salt amplifies all other flavors in the soup and brings out the best in every ingredient.

Cooking instructions

Pot with onions, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal ready for cooking.

Step 1: Pour water into a deep pot over medium heat and add sliced onions, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal. Bring to a boil.

Thai seafood soup brimming in pot.

Step 2: Once boiling, add rosdee flavor seasoning, chili paste, tom yum paste, salt, tomatoes, mushrooms, and your seafood. Cook and stir regularly until the seafood is cooked, about 2-3 minutes. When the seafood is cooked, add evaporated milk.

Tom yum talay soup in a cooking pot, garnished with fresh herbs, ready to serve.

Step 3: Turn off the heat, add fresh lime juice, and sprinkle with green onions, coriander, and cilantro. Stir and serve immediately.

Tip: Leftover seafood can be used to make pad ped talay and pad cha talay, two spicy seafood stir-fries.

Kitchen tools

  • Chopping board and knife for prepping the seafood and vegetables
  • Mortar and pestle for making the Thai tom yum soup paste
  • Ladle for serving
  • Large pot
Authentic Thai tom yum talay soup in a rustic pot, adorned with a lime wedge and surrounded by traditional ingredients and fresh herbs and spices.

tips and tricks for Thai tom yum soup

  • Use fresh ingredients: If possible, use fresh ingredients, especially for the seafood. If you’re in the West and can’t find fresh herbs and spices, you can use frozen ones from Asian grocery stores.
  • Spicy seafood soup: For a spicier soup, try adding fried dried chilies. Simply fry dried chilies in hot oil for approx 10 seconds, then drain excess oil and add them to your soup.
  • Balance the flavors: Balance the tom yum flavors to your liking. Before serving, make sure to taste-test and adjust seasonings if needed.
  • Don’t overcook: Don’t overcook the seafood, cook it just until it’s tender.
  • Clear broth: This recipe is made with evaporated milk, which makes a creamy broth. If you’d like a clear soup (tom yum nam sai), simply omit the evaporated milk.
  • Vegetables: You can use variations like oyster mushrooms, shiitake, or button mushrooms. Bell peppers, baby corn, snow peas, and even bok choy can be added.

How to serve

Serve your tom yum seafood hot and fresh. Ladle the soup into bowls and make sure each serving gets a mix of seafood and veggies. Garnish with fresh herbs like cilantro, coriander, or chopped green onions. Add a lime wedge for more of that sour flavor.

The soup in itself is quite light, but you can provide steamed jasmine rice or Thai sticky rice to make it a filling meal suited for lunch or dinner.

How to store and reheat

Allow your soup to cool to room temperature. Store the soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezing instructions: You can freeze this soup for later. Simply keep it in a freezer-safe container or bag and freeze for up to a month. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheating instructions: Reheat on the stovetop over low heat, avoid boiling as this can overcook the seafood.

Frequently asked questions

How many calories are in tom yum soup?

A typical serving of tom yum soup contains approx 150 calories, making it a low-calorie option. When prepared with evaporated milk, a portion contains around 250-300 calories.

Is tom yum soup good when sick?

Yes, tom yum soup offers many health benefits when sick due to its fresh herbs and spices. The hot and sour broth can help clear nasal congestion and soothe the throat.

How to make tom yum soup vegetarian?

Substitute seafood with tofu and mushrooms, use vegetable broth instead of fish or chicken broth.

How spicy is this recipe?

The spiciness can vary depending on the amount of chili paste used and personal heat tolerance.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, I didn’t use soy sauce and this recipe is gluten-free. However, always make sure to double-check the labeling of your store-bought ingredients.

Can you eat tom yum soup when pregnant?

Yes, you can eat tom yum soup when pregnant, but just be mindful of the spice level. Ensure the seafood is fully cooked.

What kind of mushrooms for tom yum soup?

Straw mushrooms are a great option, but oyster, shiitake, and button mushrooms are also popular choices.

Where did tom yum soup originate?

Tom yum soup originated in Thailand, it’s one of the country’s signature dishes.

More Thai soup recipes you’ll love

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Tom Yum Talay Recipe (Thai Seafood Soup)

Tom yum talay, Thai seafood soup served in a pot, garnished with fresh herbs.
This tom yum talay recipe for Thai seafood soup is full of authentic flavors. Use my tom yum paste recipe and enjoy a healthy meal in less than 30 minutes.
Praew
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Cuisine Thai
Course dinner, Soup
Serving Size 2 people

Ingredients

  • 13.5 fluid ounces water
  • 3.2 ounces onions sliced
  • 3 ounces kaffir lime leaves
  • 0.35 ounces lemongrass sliced
  • 0.35 ounces galangal sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon flavor seasoning see notes
  • 2 tablespoons Thai chili paste see notes
  • 4 tablespoons tom yum paste see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3.5 ounces straw mushrooms
  • 3.5 ounces tomatoes sliced
  • 10.5 ounces seafood see notes
  • 3.4 fluid ounces evaporated milk
  • 1/2 lime
  • 0.35 ounces cilantro
  • 0.7 ounces green onions chopped
  • 0.35 ounces coriander

Instructions

  • Pour water into a deep pot over medium heat and add sliced onions, kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and galangal. Bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add rosdee flavor seasoning, chili paste, tom yum paste, salt, tomatoes, mushrooms, and your seafood. Cook and stir regularly until the seafood is cooked, about 2–3 minutes. When the seafood is cooked, add evaporated milk.
  • Turn off the heat and sprinkle with green onions, coriander, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the nutrition card in this recipe as a guideline.
  • Seafood: You can use any seafood mix like shrimp, mussels, fillet, calamari, prawns, crab, shrimp, etc.
  • Flavor seasoning: Rosdee is a popular Thai seasoning powder that acts as a flavor enhancer. It adds umami and a balanced savory taste to the soup. It kind of rounds out the flavors and was commonly used in the Thai restaurants I worked at. You can find this in any Asian supermarket. It acts similar to a stock or bouillon and comes in various flavors including chicken and pork. You can use chicken stock or bouillon if that's what you have on hand.
  • Thai chili paste
  • Tom yum paste

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