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Vegan Tom Yum / Tom Yum Goong

Vegan Tom Yum / Tom Yum Goong

Tom Yum Soup is probably the most popular Thai dish that is loved by people around the world. There are two types of soups - one being the clear broth and the other being the creamy broth which is a more recent trend. 

I was actually surprised how quickly you can whip up this flavorful soup. You don't need to boil the herbs for hours - 20mins and voila! 

Tom Yum Goong means Tom = soup, Yum = Thai spicy and sour salad, Goong = shrimp. Literally, it is a spicy and sour salad soup with shrimp! 

Today we are making a vegan version (or a pescatarian version if you prefer and easily just add fish sauce and prawn) of this soup!

For the vegan version, we are not using the Goong (shrimp) part of this traditional recipe, we are using Kombu and Shiitake mushroom as a substitute for the umami. Inspired by the Japanese vegan broth I like to make, this will only add umami and I promise you that it will not turn this soup Japanesey!  The only thing missing will be the red colour that you get from the shrimp shells.  


For Vegan Version
10g, Dried Kombu Kelp (about 10cm squares) 
2pc, Dried Shiitake mushrooms
800ml, Water (room temperature)
300g, tofu, diced
2 stalks, Fresh Lemongrass
1 knob of Galangal, sliced in 10 slices.
10 Kaffir Lime Leaves
2 pc., Bird Eye Chili 
400ml, Coconut Milk (*optional) 
100g,  Straw Mushrooms, or another type of Asian mushroom of your choice
2 Tbsp., Tom Yum Paste (vegan)
3 Tbsp., Vegan Fish Sauce (vegan)
60ml, Fresh Lime Juice (or Fresh Lemon Juice
Fresh Coriander to top on top

For Pescatarian Version
Follow the ingredients from above and simply switch the vegan fish sauce to Red Boat Fish Sauce and add prawns 



  1. Brush off any dirt from the Shiitake mushrooms and Kombu and soak them in 800ml of water. 
    If you can do this soaking overnight that will be even better! You can use the overnight soaked water directly to start making the soup. If not, you can follow the boiling method.
  2. In a pot, bring the Kombu and Shiitake to a boil and remove the kombu just before the water boils. Simmer the Shiitake while you are preparing the other ingredients. 
  3. Smash lemongrass with the back of your knife or a pestle and cut into chunks. Massage the kaffir lime leaves and break each into 2 pieces. Slice the galangal. Add all to the simmering water.
  4. For the chilies, if you want just mild spiciness, slice the chili in two and remove the seeds and add that to the soup. If you like your soup spicy, finely chop the chilies or pound in a mortar into a paste.
  5. Remove the Shiitake mushrooms (you can use this in our Vegan Yum Woon Sen recipe, along with the Kombu that was used for the broth!) and add the cubed tofu and simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Once the flavor is infused into the soup, you can remove the herbs at this point or leave them for garnishing. Remember that the herbs are not meant to be eaten, as they are very tough!! 
  7. If you prefer to make the creamy Tom Yum Soup, add the coconut cream here and bring to boil. Add the mushrooms and simmer for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the Tom Yum Paste and fish sauce, mix well and turn off the heat.
  9. Add the fresh lime juice (do not cook the lime juice!) and garnish with coriander leaves. It would be good to use a sieve to remove the lime seeds.
  10. Enjoy while hot!
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