Tom Kha Goong – done my way!

TomKhaGoong1I love to cook. My mom had me and my two sisters help her in the kitchen ever since we were old enough to safely wield a kitchen knife. We were her little sous chefs .  I have countless memories of chopping vegetables for dinner with my family after school. We ate a lot of stir fries and salads over the years, which all involved a lot of chopping. My mom was always into healthy cooking and every meal contained tons of colourful vegetables.

I hate following recipes. It’s probably why my love for cooking is far bigger than my love for baking. Martin thinks it’s funny that I watch lots of different cooking shows, but never write down the recipes or even look them up online. I use these shows to gather ideas. To learn which flavours go well together and then adapt the recipes based on the ingredients I have at hand.  Martin calls me a “MacGyver in the kitchen” because I can take random ingredients and make them into tasty meals, a skill which comes in handy when you live in a country with no open grocery stores on Sundays.


During the two years that Martin and I lived separately during the work week (him in Switzerland, me in the UK), I stopped cooking. It’s not very exciting to cook for one and I became dependant on Marks & Spencer’s “Fuller Longer” meals range.  Martin joked that I should buy M&S shares because I shopped there so often. Since moving to Switzerland, though, I have been cooking almost daily. I usually make enough food for that night and the next day. Cooking four portions is far easier than two, plus it’s nice to have an evening off on leftover day.

I have been cooking variations of this Thai soup for many years. I took a Thai cooking course when I was in Chiang Mai seven years ago and use this knowledge and ideas collected from cooking shows to make my own variation of this spicy, sweet and sour soup. I like to incorporate lots of vegetables to make it a balanced main course meal. This version was delicious and very filling. We paired it with a fruity French white wine.


xx BHF

{recipe after the jump}

TOM KHA GOONG {Thai coconut shrimp soup} -done my way!     ~ Makes 5-6 servings


  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh ginger
  • 3 hot chili peppers
  • 2 fresh lemon grass stalks
  • bunch of fresh cilantro (save some for garnishing)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 limes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons store bought red Thai curry paste
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 litres boiling water
  • 100g vermicelli rice noodles
  • 10 – 12 fresh jumbo prawns
  • fish sauce
  • OPTIONAL EXTRAS: fresh scallops and shrimp dim sum dumplings


1. Chop all of your veg. Refer to the photos for sizes. Before chopping the lemon grass, bash it a little with the blunt end of the knife handle. This helps the yummy flavour come out.

2. Bring a large soup pan to a medium-high heat. While your pan heats up, boil a full kettle of water. You’ll need around 2 litres.

3. Add a tbsp. of cooking oil to the hot pan. To this add your chopped garlic, onion, ginger, chilies, lemon grass and cilantro. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add the vegetable stock cube and around a litre of the boiling water. Let this boil on a medium heat for 5 more minutes. Use an immersion blender to blend these ingredients together until the broth is smooth (be careful! I remove the pan from the heat – make sure you have enough water in the pan before blending). NOTE: this step is not necessary. If you don’t mind having some inedible pieces in your soup (I don’t mind), skip this step. Martin gets confused when I’ve done this and spends half the meal trying to figure out if the thing on his spoon is a piece of ginger or a piece of garlic.

4. Once blended, add the rest of the boiled water and turn the heat down to a light simmer. You can do this well in advance. If you’re not going to be eating until hours later, remove the pan from the heat. Start reheating 25 minutes before serving.

5. Twenty minutes before serving, bring the broth to a gentle simmer. Add the two tbsp. of red curry paste and 1 cup of coconut milk, give the broth a good stir and then add your chopped vegetables (carrots, red peppers, mushrooms), let cook for 5 minutes and then add the rice noodles. Wait 10 minutes and then add the raw prawns. These should only take a few minutes to cook in the soup. They will turn pink when done. When the prawns are cooked, add a few dashes of fish sauce and the juice from 1 1/2 limes. Give the soup a final stir.

6. OPTIONAL STEP: I wanted to add some extra, special elements, so I pan fried some scallops (2 for each serving) and bought some shrimp dim sum dumplings. I microwaved the dumplings for a couple minutes and added one to the top of each serving with the scallops.

7. Spoon out the noodles first and place them in a bowl. Then add some broth and vegetables. Fish out a couple prawns for each serving (I used 2 prawns, 2 scallops, and 1 dumpling per bowl of soup).

8. Garnish with some chopped cilantro and a wedge of lime.

This recipe is just a guide. I hope you enjoy making it your own!



2 thoughts on “Tom Kha Goong – done my way!

  1. Your photography skills amaze me! I too watch cooking shows and then make my own spin on what I see. I also love eating out just so that I can try to guess what is in the dish and then re-create it at home–My way!

    • Thank you! I do some strange things when setting up my photos, but I do really enjoy the process. It’s very rewarding to hear that you like them. Happy cooking to you!

Thank you for your feedback! xx BHF

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