‘Allergy Keep Away’ Tom Yum Goong (Shrimp Lemongrass Soup)

Creative Commons image. Credit: Jennifer Rainey Marquez.
Creative Commons image. Credit: Jennifer Rainey Marquez.

Allergy season arrives later in Colorado than in the other places I lived. Tree and plants don’t get blooming until the end of April and early May, but once they do, running becomes a tearful and snotty outdoor activity for me. My allergies were particularly bad over the weekend when Cameron and I were kicking up all kinds of dust and pollen in our effort to improve our yard’s landscaping.

On Sunday, I headed inside from gardening to take a break from flying pollen and prepared a light lunch to power us through the afternoon. I settled on homemade Thai food and assembled ingredients for spring rolls and tom yum goong, also known as hot and sour lemongrass soup.

Since this soup recipe contains shrimp, I opted for fried tofu as the protein source in the spring rolls. Once I’d created a mountain of spring rolls on a serving platter, I set to soup making. This is my first attempt at preparing tom yum goong, the famed hot and sour lemongrass soup ubiquitous in Thai restaurants.

If you plan to use Thai bird chiles in the recipe, start with one, and increase the heat on your next go round with the recipe. Even a little spice will offer you relief from allergy season congestion, but this spicy bowl of hot and sour soup cleared my congestion and scared away any pollen that tried to get cozy with my eyes and nose.

Tom Yum Goong
Image by author.

Tom Yum Goong aka
Hot and Sour Shrimp Lemongrass Soup
Serves 4

– 3 TBS freshly squeezed lime juice
– 1 TBS thinly sliced fresh hot green chilies (I used 3 small dried Thai Bird’s Eye chilies. They are spicy!)
– 2 green onions, very thinly sliced
– 6 wild kaffir lime leaves, torn or cut in quarters
– 2 TBS coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
– 2 cups vegetable broth
– 3 stalks lemongrass, trimmed to 3-inch base and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch chunks
– 5 slices galanga, fresh, frozen, or dried (I substituted fresh ginger.)
– 1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms (I used shiitakes.)
– 2 TBS fish sauce
– 2 TBS roasted chili paste (nahm prik pao, optional)

1.In a large serving bowl, combine the lime juice, chilies, green onions, and half the lime leaves, if using. Place this bowl by the stove, along with a small bowl containing the chopped cilantro.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, lemongrass, galanga (or ginger), and remaining lime leaves, if using. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the shrimp and mushrooms to the broth, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, until the mushrooms are tender and the shrimp are cooked.

3. Stir in the fish sauce and roasted chili paste, if using, and remove from heat. Pour the hot soup over the lime juice and herbs in the serving bowl, and stir well. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve hot.

10 Comments Add yours

  1. I could use a bowl of this right now. I have had allergies since the end of February. It’s an outrage! This soup really sounds delicious. Do you think it would work well using a noodle too? Like soba maybe?

    1. gwynnem says:

      Sorry to hear about those pesky allergies. Soba would go great with this soup. You may want to make a larger batch of soup so the noodles don’t outweigh the broth.

      1. Ok! I’ll do it. Just yesterday while at the market I was wanting to buy fresh soba noodles but at the time I couldn’t come up with a soup idea. I’ll try your soup this weekend and maybe…who knows…my allergies will take a break! Thank you for getting back to me. Love your blog!

  2. gwynnem says:

    Thanks, tinywhitecottage! I would love fresh soba noodles. I’ve only eaten the dried variety. Keep your tissue nearby when you slurp up this soup. 🙂

  3. You have just reminded me it’s time to make this again. I have a kiffir lime tree and grow lemon grass and ginger. No excuses, now. Thaks for your recipe. 🙂

    1. gwynnem says:

      Lucky lady! I have to track down an Asian grocery store whenever I need my kaffir lime and lemongrass fix. Hope you like this one!

  4. afracooking says:

    I grew up with the idea that a soup cures the cold, but love the idea of chasing away those spring sniffels with a clear spicy broth.

    1. gwynnem says:

      May the sniffles be eradicated after a bowl of this soup. 🙂

  5. My allergies are SO bad today! Your recipe looks awesome especially because it offers the added benefit of taking allergies away.

    1. gwynnem says:

      If it can’t eradicate allergies, at least it will clear out stuffy noses. 🙂 Hope you feel better soon!

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