What? Did your world just come crashing down because you saw no ‘goong’ (prawns) in my tom yum? I’m sorry to break the truth, but tom yum goong is not the only tom yum we eat in Thailand. 🤭🤭
We put pretty much any kind of protein in this hot and sour soup. From seafood to pork ribs, beef and chicken, you name it — anything that floats your boat is fine. I love tom yum goong myself but find that a lot of times prawns sold at the market or supermarket aren’t that fresh, and I just end up using pork ribs.
To be fair, pork rib tom yum is a very popular soup here and more common than tom yum goong at real-world everyday ‘kao rad gaeng’ stalls (stalls that serve rice with a variety of pre-made curries/stir-fries/soups for about 30-50 baht) because pork ribs are cheaper than prawns. If you go to an Isaan restaurant, you’ll find another pork rib tom yum variation called ‘tom zap,’ which contains Thai basil, toasted rice powder and some other ingredients different from those of tom yum.
The reason why we Thais enjoy pork rib tom yum is because the bones help make the broth very rich. And you know the game – you reheat seafood, it gets dry and nasty; you reheat pork ribs, they get more and more tender. Plus, it’s a bonus when you can’t be bothered to prepare prawns! If you haven’t tried pork rib tom yum soup, I highly, highly recommend you try it. You’re gonna love this and will thank me later!
I should also mention that I use tamarind in this recipe to make the soup sour. I like using tamarind in tom yum for the fact that it makes the broth ‘less watery,’ if you will. A lot of people like the aroma of lime juice and so do I. But for this recipe, the tamarind juice makes the tom yum sour enough for me. If you want the lime juice aroma, you can use less tamarind and season the soup with lime juice until you reach the taste you prefer at the end. Or, if you can’t find tamarind at all, just go with lime juice. I promise your tom yum will be just fine. 😊
Super Tender Pork Rib Tom Yum Recipe
- 1½ pods sour tamarind you can find this in a Thai or Asian grocery store
- 350 grams pork ribs
- 2 stalks lemongrass
- 3-4 slices galangal
- 6 kaffir lime leaves hand torn and bruised
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 5 Thai bird's eye chiles roughly pounded
- 100 grams mushroom any kind you prefer
- Add 1½ liters of water to a pot and simmer the pork ribs with the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and tamarind pods for about 50 minutes. Remove any fat floating on top of the liquid.
- Use a slotted spoon to scoop the tamarind pods from the soup and hold the spoon just right above the surface of the soup. Use another spoon to squash the tamarind pulp through the slotted spoon into the soup and discard the membranes and seeds.
- Season the tom yum with salt, sugar and Thai bird's eye chiles.
- Add the mushrooms and let cook for about 1-2 minutes before turning off the heat.
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