Spicy Thai-style shrimp soup recipe

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Based on a Thai soup called tom yum, this quick shrimp soup offers an exotic balance of hot, salty, sweet, and sour elements by way of grocery store ingredients. We substituted easy-to-find jalapeño peppers for traditional Thai chiles, while fish sauce provided the saltiness. The soup’s sourness authentically comes from a combination of lemon grass and makrut (sometimes called kaffir) lime leaves, which we replaced with lime juice added to the soup at the last minute. Plain white sugar, a substitute for palm sugar, helped balance the powerful flavors. Cooking the shrimp in the hot broth for just a minute ensured they turned out tender. For a spicier soup, use the larger amount of chiles.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
  • Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 5¼ cups chicken broth
  • 1 (½-inch) piece ginger, cut in half and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 large garlic cloves, lightly crushed with skins on
  • 4–6 cilantro stems, including roots, plus ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1–2 jalapeño chiles, stemmed and sliced crosswise into ¼-inch-thick rings
  • 2 tomatoes, cored and chopped coarse
  • 8 ounces cremini, oyster, or white mushrooms, stemmed and quartered if small or cut into sixths if large
  • 8 ounces medium shrimp (41 to 50 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)
How to Make It
  1. Bring broth, ginger, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro stems, sugar, half of jalapeños, and one-quarter of tomatoes to simmer in Dutch oven over medium-high heat and cook for 20 minutes. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer set over large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
  2. Return broth to now-empty pot and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in mushrooms and remaining chiles and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in shrimp and cook for 1 minute. Off heat, stir in lime juice. Divide remaining tomato and chopped cilantro among individual bowls and ladle soup over top. Serve.

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