Tom Yum noodle soup is a flavorful Thai street food dish that combines the ever-popular Tom Yum broth with chewy noodles to make a comforting meal. The flavorful broth customized with your choice of protein is both delicious and super easy to make – you just need the fresh herbs and 20 minutes to spare!
✅ Why Make This Recipe
Simple to make – No hours of simmering soup needed. By utilizing key cooking techniques and fresh herbs, you’re able to make a flavorful Tom Yum noodle soup in under 20 minutes
Restaurant quality taste from home – By utilizing the key cooking techniques used to make top-tier restaurant-quality Tom Yum flavors, you can make it a restaurant-quality bowl of noodle soup from the comfort of home.
💭 What is Tom Yum Noodle Soup?
Tom Yum noodle soup, also known as "Tom Yum Goong Noodles," is a popular Thai street food dish that pairs the popular Tom Yum soup with chewy noodles, resulting in a comforting noodle soup dish chock full of flavor.
This dish is very versatile and can be customized to your preferences. Here are some popular variations:
- Creamy vs Clear Broth – The creamy version is a popular variation that mixes milk with the spicy soup.
- Red colored (due to Nam Prik Pao or Thai Red Chili Paste) vs. Clear (both are spicy though)
- Switching up the proteins – You can use seafood, chicken, or a combination of both. Traditional Thai recipes tend to use pork as well, but for purposes of keeping the dish low-calorie, I opt for lean protein options
- Noodle type – Egg noodles or rice noodles are popular options
🍎Calories and Nutrition – How to Make It Healthy
Tom yum noodle soup can be a super well-balanced and flavorful dish. A serving of this recipe is only 446 calories with 38 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat, and 50 grams of carbs.
Most of the calories of this dish come from the shrimp and chicken, which are lean protein sources. The great thing about this soup is that the flavor comes from steeping the herbs and shrimp shells, which have a negligible amount of calories, and yet have an astounding medley of flavors.
The thing to note here is that this dish typically does not have enough protein content at restaurants, and may have an outsized amount of fats from oil or coconut milk for the creamy version.
Thankfully, you can still enjoy this dish by using a few ingredient swaps and cooking techniques. Here’s what I did to make this healthy:
- Portion enough protein for the dish – I used 2 ounces of shrimp and 3 ounces of chicken
- Omitted usage of milk – Made the clear version of the stock and added nam prik pao. If you do choose to use coconut milk to use a creamy version, opt for the light coconut milk, which has ⅓ of the calories.
- Portioned the seasonings – I only used 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 teaspoons of fish sauce, minimizing the calories coming from the seasonings while still resulting in a great flavor.
For a detailed breakdown of each ingredient, their portioning, and how they make up the nutrition profile of this tom yum noodle soup recipe, you may refer to the table below:
📋 Ingredient Notes
To make the seafood tom yum soup, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Whole Shrimp with Shrimp Head and Shell On – In addition to the shrimp meat itself, the head and shells are vital for the tom yum broth flavor, infusing it with a delicious umami seafood flavor. If you can’t find head-on shrimp, at least try to use the shells.
- Chicken Thigh – Adds additional protein to the dish and pairs well with the Tom yum broth.
- Fresh Lemongrass – Essential herb for the flavor of the Tom Yum broth. Use the top parts of the lemongrass stalk.
- Makrut Lime leaves – Another essential herb for the tom yum broth. You can find these at your local Asian grocery stores or buy dried ones online.
- Fresh Galangal – A woody ginger-looking herb that is essential for the Tom yum broth. You can also find these at your local Asian grocery store. You may substitute with ginger and some lemon juice as well.
- Thai chilies – Gives the stock its spice. You can buy fresh ones at the grocery store or use dried ones online. If you can't find them, any red chilies would work.
- Fish sauce – For a finishing balance in the soup that gives it a salty flavor.
- Nam prik pao (Optional) – Gives the soup an additional infusion of spice and its red color.
See my recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.
📖 Substitutions and Variations
Make without noodles – If you prefer to make some soup instead, check out my Tom Yum soup recipe.
Switch up the noodle type – Make a tom yum noodle soup by pairing this with a serving of egg or rice noodles.
Nam Prik Pao Usage – This Thai chili paste gives the soup an additional kick and it's beautiful red flavor. You can find them at your local Asian grocery store or order online.
Use all chicken – If you don’t have seafood, you can also make this dish with chicken.
Add cream – To make the milky version, add a tablespoon of light coconut milk or skim milk.
Notes on the kaffir lime leaves and galangal – These are staples in Thai cooking and can be found in Asian grocery stores. If you cannot find kaffir lime leaves, just omit them, but the flavor of the soup won’t be quite complete.
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
Prep the chicken and shrimp – Cut the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces, trimming off the excess fat. Devein shrimp and reserve the head and the shells, reserving them for the shrimp stock.
Make the shrimp stock – Bring the shrimp shells and head to a boil in 2 cups of water and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Strain and remove the shrimp shells.
Infuse the herbs – Mince the galangal, rip the kaffir lime leaves, and chop the lemongrass using the top part. Smash the garlic clove as well to release flavor. Add them all to the shrimp stock and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
Cook the chicken and shrimp – Strain the herbs out and add in the raw chicken and shallots if using. Turn the heat to medium-high heat and cook until the chicken is almost done, about 2-3 minutes, before adding in the shrimp. Cook until both the chicken and shrimp are fully cooked, about 2-3 more minutes.
Cook the noodles – In a separate saucepan, bring water to a boil and cook noodles according to the package directions.
Season the soup – Season with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and nam prik pao. Mix thoroughly and adjust to taste if needed.
Create your noodle bowl – Add your cooked noodles to a bowl, and pour the soup and proteins over the noodles.
Garnish and enjoy – Garnish with cilantro, top with soft-boiled egg if desired, and enjoy.
💭 Recipe FAQs
Lemongrass is a long, stalky herb with a wood-like texture. When using, you will need to remove the tough outer layers to reach the white fleshy part. Then, cut the lemongrass into thin slices starting from the white, fleshy bottom until you reach the green woody part (these are usually saved for steeping in soups or curries).
For optimal flavor, pound the sliced lemongrass slices in a mortar and pestle — this will release all the flavor and juices. For more information about how to cook with lemongrass, check out this article from The Spruce Eats on How to Prepare Lemongrass.
If the soup evaporates, you can deglaze the pan by adding about half a cup of water or as needed and mixing everything together.
I would recommend making the stock in advance only and mixing in the seafood when you're ready to cook to ensure the seafood doesn't get overcooked in the reheating process.
Cook the noodles and add to the broth only when you are ready to cook.
💭 Expert Tips
Save the shrimp shells and heads for the stock – Steeping the soup with the shrimp shells and heads will give the stock a delicious umami flavor.
Adjust the spiciness – You can adjust the spiciness with the number of Thai chilis. Use 1 for a mild spice, 2-3 for a medium spice, and 3+ for a heavy spice. Keep in mind that Thai chilis are much spicier than your average chili!
Soft-boiled egg – To make a soft-boiled egg, fill a saucepan with 1-inch of water and bring to a boil. Place the raw egg in the saucepan and cover with lid. Let steam for exactly 7 minutes before taking out the egg and placing it in an ice bath. Let it cook before peeling the egg. Check out this guide for more details on how to make a soft-boiled egg.
🍽 What To Eat It With
This tom yum seafood soup recipe is a super versatile dish that can be paired with a wide variety of dishes including the following:
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Tom Yum Noodle Soup
- Shrimp shells and heads
- 1 stalk Lemongrass
- 1 Makrut Lime Leaf
- Fresh Galangal
- 1-2 Thai chilies
- 1 clove Garlic
- 2 oz Shrimp
- 3 oz Chicken thigh
- 1 cup Chicken stock
- 50 g Rice Noodles
Seasonings and Garnish
- 3 grams Nam Prik Pao
- 1 Lime
- 2 teaspoon Fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- Cliantro (For garnish)
- Prep the chicken and shrimp – Cut the chicken into small, bite-sized pieces, trimming off the excess fat. Devein shrimp and reserve the head and the shells, reserving them for the shrimp stock.
- Make the shrimp stock – Bring the shrimp shells and head to a boil in 2 cups of water and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Strain and remove the shrimp shells.
- Infuse the herbs – Mince the galangal, rip the kaffir lime leaves, and chop the lemongrass using the top part. Smash the garlic clove as well to release flavor. Add them all to the shrimp stock and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
- Cook the chicken and shrimp – Strain the herbs out and add in the raw chicken and shallots if using. Turn the heat to medium-high heat and cook until the chicken is almost done, about 2-3 minutes, before adding in the shrimp. Cook until both the chicken and shrimp are fully cooked, about 2-3 more minutes.
- Cook the noodles – In a separate saucepan, bring water to a boil and cook noodles according to the package directions.
- Season the soup – Season with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, and nam prik pao. Mix thoroughly and adjust to taste if needed.
- Create your noodle bowl – Add your cooked noodles to a bowl, and pour the soup and proteins over the noodles.
- Garnish and enjoy – Garnish with cilantro, top with soft-boiled egg if desired, and enjoy.