Tom yam kai

    25 min

    I have travelled to Thailand a few times and this is by far and away my favourite Thai dish. I have tried to recreate this spicy chicken noodle broth using ingredients readily available in Western Europe. The paste recipe makes 8 servings, and proportions are provided for 2 meal servings.


    County Donegal, Ireland
    8 people made this

    Serves: 2 

    • For the basic paste
    • 2 lemongrass stalks trimmed and chopped
    • 3 medium onions, diced
    • 1 thumb sized piece of ginger, finely sliced
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 6 green bird eye chillies + seeds
    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
    • For each meal
    • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
    • 2 chicken fillets, cut into fine strips
    • 1L chicken stock
    • 2 portions dried medium egg noodles
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 2 handfuls beansprouts
    • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 1 red chilli, deseeded, finely sliced
    • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
    • 1 handful fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:10min  ›  Ready in:25min 

    1. Put all the ingredients for the paste into a mini food processor one by one and blitz them up. I usually start with the lemongrass because if it isn't well ground up it can be unpleasant to eat.
    2. Once the paste has been made, divide it into 4, usually there are about 8 tablespoons of it.
    3. Put 3 of the 4 portions into freezer bags and freeze for later use.
    4. Add the sesame oil to a cooking pot (at least 2L in capacity) and fry off the paste in the remaining portion.
    5. Add the chicken pieces and fry until browned.
    6. Pour in the hot chicken stock (I use the Knorr® stockpot ones which I think are very good.)
    7. Add the 2 portions of dried noodles, bring to the boil then simmer for 3 minutes. Add salt to taste.
    8. Add the fish sauce and simmer for 2 minutes. Don't be put off by the smell!
    9. Add the beansprouts and the lemon juice.
    10. Serve in 2 large bowls.
    11. Top with the finely sliced red chilli, spring onion and coriander leaves.

    Make ahead

    The paste can be made ahead and frozen. It can then be fried, straight from the freezer, for a very quick meal.

    Other ideas

    You can also add prawns/shrimp to this recipe... I just don't happen to like them.

    Drink pairing

    Goes nicely with a hoppy IPA (Indian Pale Ale) which will help take the sting out of the spice.

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    Reviews in English (2)


    Just made this, was very tasty and easy. The preparation took me a while longer but that's me and its already done for next three times Only negative was that's it was pretty messy to eat but the taste makes up for that. Thanks for sharing  -  26 May 2012


    I added a few more noodles to bulk it out for larger appetites, very spicy hot but very tasty. Only downside is it's very messy to eat as previously mentioned.  -  18 Oct 2016