Tom Ka With Tofu (Or Tom Yam) Soup

Total Time
Prep 10 mins
Cook 10 mins

When I went to Thailand and had this soup for the first time I think my whole world just flipped right over on me all at once--it was the most remarkable taste experience ever. The flavors just blew me away--piquant, sour, spicy, rich, amazing! You have to try it. And you can easily make either Tom Yam or Tom Ka with a simple substitution. This soup is simple to make, but what's tricky is having the ingredients on hand. Because I love this so much, I stockpile fish sauce, coconut milk and dried shiitake mushrooms. My hubby grows lemongrass in the garden year-round, and we have a lime tree that contributes a leaf here and there. You can make this without lime leaf and lemongrass, but add some lime zest to substitute. I think you are going to love this special and wonderful soup--one of the great wonders of the culinary world!

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 (12 ounce) can coconut milk (Not the reduced fat kind. Fat makes it taste DELICIOUS!)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (I use the chicken stock paste that comes in little jars. It has no MSG and is all-natural, without t)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 sprigs lemongrass, root (two inch sprigs, chopped into tiny slices)
  • 1 kaffir lime leaf (or other lime leaf, tossed in whole) (optional)
  • 1 lime, juice of
  • 4 garlic cloves (or more depending on your preference)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package silken tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 12 cup shrimp (optional)
  • 12 cup mushroom (Any kind, such as white, shiitake, portobello, etc. I mostly use shiitake because I keep a giant con)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili paste (I like Sriracha brand. Add more to taste.)
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot
  • 14 cup chopped cilantro (for garnish)
  • 14 cup Thai basil, for garnish (optional)


  1. Throw everything in a pot and boil for about 10 minutes, saving shrimp until last (if you are using shrimp--I often just make this vegetarian).
  2. Garnish and serve.
  3. To make Tom Yam instead of Tom Ka, do everything the same, except substitute more chicken stock to replace the coconut milk.
Most Helpful

I love this soup! I have tried it with and without lemongrass and lime leaf, and I often change the type of mushroom I add, but it always tastes delicious! Thank you for this lovely treat :)

Acoustic Indigo August 24, 2008

Great soup, thank you so much!! I used lime zest instead of the leaf and it still turned out fine. We grow fresh basil in our garden so when I spooned the soup into the bowls I just sprinkled on the basil right over it and it tasted great! The only thing about this soup is that we couldn't eat too much of it without kind of feeling squeamish from all that rich coconut flavor, but that's just us. :) I would suggest serving this as an appetizer. Thank you again!

God's_sugarcookie October 07, 2006

This was one of the best Asian type soups I have tried in while and I am a soup freak. Could not stop eating it! Absolutely delicous. The only changes I made was to add about 300 g of an assortment of shrimp, squid, clams. I had the kifir lime leaves but they are hard to find. I would sub with lime does kick the soup up a notch... so add it. Thanks for does bring back memories of Thailand too. Catherine

blakesle April 02, 2006