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Tom yam hed recipe (Thai sour soup with wild mushrooms)

a bowl filled with meat and vegetables

I first tasted this delicious soup in Chiang-mai, Thailand and fell in love. The recipe below is from Chef Lin (Panphailin Puntira) who runs Love Chiang Mai cooking school and was my amazing teacher on several trips to the area. My favourite version of this soup features wild local mushrooms. In Thailand (Late October) pickers will go out to find Het Khone or Termite mushrooms that grow on termite mounds (a true delicacy) to add to their Tom yam soup. This cool little mushroom feeds on the sugars that the termites produce from digested wood.

Het khone or termite mushrooms
het khone or termite mushroom

Here in BC for this recipe, I would recommend wild angel wing or hedgehog mushrooms if you are a forager . If you like to forage for your mushrooms in a grocery store, then, shiitake is a lovely addition and oyster mushrooms in a pinch. Want to learn to forage for wild mushrooms in BC? Come on a foraging tour with us in fall.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (smashed, use white part only, cut into 3 inch pieces)
  • 1 piece galangal, thin slices (use ginger if you must)
  • 2 fresh kaffir lime leaves, remove stem
  • 2 cups chopped wild mushrooms
  • 1 onion, cut into 8 sections
  • 1 medium tomato, cut into 4
  • 4 birds eye chilies, smashed (less if you don’t like spice) if you can’t find birds eye, then roasted or fresh thai chilis are fine
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs Thai chili paste (thai jam) – get it at Supermarket 88 in Vancouver or T&T
  • 1 tbs lime juice (fresh)
  • Cilantro and spring onion cut into 1 inch sections for garnish
  • Optional (add chicken pieces, turkey or prawns)
tom yam soup


Bring water to boil, add all ingredients, simmer 30 min, serve with garnish. If you are adding meat or prawns, cook them in broth till done. It’s so easy!