Steam Fish Tom Yam Style, Plus Tofu and Mushroom Style Bonus

You’re here because you love three things, fish, hot sauce, and soup. I won’t teach you how to prepare them separately. Rather, combine them into one, the Steam Fish Tom Yam Style.

Right away, I’ll answer your first question in mind. Whether tom yam soup is healthy or not is completely dependent on you.  If you’re picky with ingredients, then it’s healthy. When you pick shrimp and you have shrimp allergy, then the next scene would be horrible. If you have high blood pressure and other heart related problems, then don’t expect a favorable outcome.

Tom yam soup has two distinct ingredients, the galangal and Thai chili. Galangal is a relative of ginger. However, galangal has citrus and pine flavor, while the ginger is pungent and spicy.  Thai chilis, on the other hand, are hot peppers having 50k to 100k Scoville Heat Units. You’ll sure love them.

Most variants contain meat and fish. However, you can make your own vegetarian version by removing all the meaty ingredients, and replacing them with alternatives such as tofu and veggie meat.

For Steamed Fish Tom Yam Style, choose fresh fish which doesn’t crumble when boiled.

What is Tom Yum or Tom Yam?

Tom yum is a Thai soup, with a hot and sour characteristic, and commonly prepared with prawn. Has generous number of herbs and spices to bring out a fragrant aroma.

Tom means boiling and yam means mixed,  which may include the following ingredients:

  1. Crushed chili peppers
  2. Fish sauce
  3. Lemongrass
  4. Kaffir lime leaves
  5. Galangal
  6. Lime juice
  7. Prawn, chicken, or pork
  8. Tomatoes
  9. White onions
  10. Mushrooms
  11. Coriander leaf
  12. Sugar

How to steam crabs? Read it here.

Tom Yam Soup Variations

Tom yam soup has many variations. I won’t bother you to get jumping from web to web just to look for them. Here they are!

  1. Tom yam nam sai. Soup variation with a clear broth. Get rid of any ingredients that may cloud the soup.  
  2. Tom yam kha mu.  Depending on pig age when slaughtered, you may need to tenderize the meat separately before proceeding with the tom yam. My favorite but I can’t take too much of this sinful food.
  3. Tom yam kung mapharao on nam khon. Prawn soup with coconut meat and coconut milk. Not for you if you have prawn or shrimp allergy.
  4. Tom yam po taek. It has clams, fish and squid. The seafoods tom yam soup.
  5. Tom yam gai.  It’s a tom yam soup, chicken version. If fried chicken is your favorite, then it’s time to consider this.  
  6. Tom yam bhla. Fish soup, clear version. Prefer the fish that doesn’t crumble when boiled, like golden snapper.
  7. Tom yam kung.  Tom yam soup, prawn or shrimp version without coconut milk. Again, don’t make this if you have shrimp allergy.
  8. Tom yam kathi.  Soup where coconut milk is dominant. Other Asian countries called this as “cooked in coconut milk.” It’s also one of my favorites.

People are creative and so they keep on inventing tom yam soup variations. I guess you’ll have to keep looking for other exciting variants.

Tom Yam Paste. Should you Make from Scratch or Buy?  

You can buy a bottled tom yam paste to make your life a bit easier. They make it by crushing all the herbs, stir frying, and lastly bottling in oil.

Specifically, ingredients such as chilis, garlic, and shallots are grilled over a wood ember. Then turn into paste, fill into bottles, then cover with oil. 

The paste is also called nam prik pao.

Should you make or buy depends on your preference and time availability. You can make the paste yourself if you’ve got doubt over bottled products. Just buy if you’re too busy.

How to Make a Tom Yam Paste from Scratch

Using mortar and pestle, pound the following ingredients into a paste.

  1. 2 Thai red chili peppers.
  2. 3 cloves garlic
  3. 1 tbsp galangal

That’s a simple recipe on how to make tom yam paste from scratch. Add other spices as you please.

How to Make Tom Yam Soup,  Tofu and  Mushroom Style

Before you go into making Steamed Fish Tom Yam Style, I suggest you take a look at basic recipe.

  1. Get 2 stalks of lemongrass and cut each into 4 pieces. Set a large heavy bottom pot on a medium heat. Put a tbsp oil. Then cook the lemon grass for 3-4 minutes. 
  2. Combine the following to heavy pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
    1. 2 tbsp of bottled tom yam paste or the self-prepared paste
    1. 5 cups vegetable broth
    1. 1 large diced tomato
    1. 5 lime leaves
    1. 1 cup of coconut milk
    1. 2 tbsps of soy sauce
  3. Add 250 grams of sliced tofu and 200 grams of sliced cremini mushrooms. Then continue cooking until the mushrooms are tender.
  4. Add ¼ cup lime juice, 1 tbsp agave, and a dash of salt. Then top with fresh cilantro leaves. 

This tom yam soup, mushroom and tofu style makes up to 4 servings.

Steamed Fish Tom Yam Style

Now you’re ready to make Steam Fish Tom Yam Style.

  1. Prepare your steamer and  bowl. Make sure your bowl is big enough to hold the soup and can fit well inside the steamer.
  2. Get the ingredients from the recipe, How to Make Tom Yam Soup,  Tofu and  Mushroom Style. But, omit the tofu and mushroom. Get fish fillet instead. For starters, get 500 grams golden snapper fillet.
  3. Set all ingredients in the bowl. Then steam for 10-15 minutes.   
  4. Take out from the steamer, top with fresh cilantro leaves, and serve.

Fried Fish with Tom Yam Sauce

This is the same as Steamed Fish Tom Yam Style. Redo the recipe but fry the fish fillet first before steaming.  Then the Fried Fish with Tom Yam Sauce is ready.


Steam Fish Tom Yam Style recipe is versatile, so don’t confine yourself with the two tom yam soup basic recipes. Cook it with pork, beef, shrimp, tofu, and other vegetarian meat.

Tom yam soup starts with a paste, which compose of Thai hot peppers, galangal and garlic.  Any hot pepper will work well but the galangal has no replacement. It’s a relative of ginger but exhibits a different taste. Galangal has citrus and piney taste as compared to pungent and spicy flavor of ginger.

From here, you can play with variety of components. Choose healthy ingredients if you want a healthy tom yam soup. Any meat and fish options are good but the tofu version is the best. Plus, no one will punish you for adding other vegetables. Doing experiments is a great thing.

Flavor wise, I am enjoying it with pork and with beef, and often adding the two meats together. However, shrimp tops them all.

Read my other post on how to spice up tomato soup.

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