Quick and Easy Tom Yum Stir Fry: The Ultimate Weeknight Winner!
If you love Tom Yum, then you have to make this easy and flavourful Tom Yum Stir Fry! This is a delicious and flavourful dish that combines the tangy and spicy flavours of Tom Yum soup with stir-fried ingredients. While this is not exactly a traditional Thai dish, but it’s not too rare to find it at eateries in Thailand. I always have Tom Yum Paste knocking around the back of my fridge, but I rarely make actual Tom Yum soup with it. Instead, I love tossing it with whatever proteins and vegetables I have and serving it with some hot rice. It never fails to satisfy everytime!
Why you will LOVE this Tom Yum Stir Fry Recipe?
- BOLD & VIBRANT: Tom Yum is a famous Thai soup known for its bold and vibrant flavours. When translated into a stir fry, those same flavors are incorporated into the dish. The combination of spicy, sour, and savory flavors creates a delicious and well-balanced taste that many people find irresistible.
- EASY CHEAT RECIPE: With ready-made paste, this stir fry comes together so quick and easily!
- Versatility: Tom Yum stir fry can be made with different types of protein, such as chicken, shrimp, or tofu, and a variety of vegetables!
- Heat and spiciness: Many people enjoy the spiciness that comes with Tom Yum stir fry. The dish includes chillies, which provide a fiery kick to complement the savoury, tangy and sweet flavours.
- Healthy ingredients: Tom Yum stir fry often incorporates fresh and healthy ingredients such as vegetables, herbs, and lean proteins. It is typically cooked quickly over high heat, which helps to retain the nutrients and natural flavours of the ingredients. The combination of nutritious elements and delicious taste makes it a favourite among health-conscious individuals.
To make this easy Tom Yum stir fry, there are 4 basic components that you need: you will typically need the following ingredients:
1. Tom Yum Paste
This paste is the key ingredient that imparts the distinct flavours of Tom Yum. You can find it easily and major supermarkets or Asian grocery stores very easily these days. These are a couple of brands to try: Por Kwan and Mae Pranom. The saltiness differs by brand, so do adjust the seasoning accordingly. Or you can make it from scratch (highly recommended)! I have a recipe for tom yum paste right here.
In Thailand, a more common paste used in the stir fries are Nam Prik Pao, or Thai Chilli Paste. These taste totally different from Tom Yum Paste, but a lot more elusive to find if you’re not in Thailand. If you manage to get your hands on this, try swapping out the tom yum paste with this! It’s a different flavour profile, but also so addictively good. I have a recipe for Nam Prik Pao too, by the way.
I used shrimps and squid today, choose your preferred protein! I like to add fishballs as well if I have that in my fridge, as a cheaper and firmer option to sliced fish.
Chicken, pork, beef, tofu – they all work great in this stir fry! I have some leftover tofu, so I tossed that in this recipe as well.
Select a variety of vegetables to add texture and colour to the stir fry. In this recipe, I used tomatoes, long beans and carrots – but you can essentially use whatever vegetables you have. Other common choices include bell peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli.
4. Aromatics & Seasonings
Aromatics: Garlic, Onions, Thai Bird’s Eye Chillies: These aromatic ingredients add depth of flavour to the dish. Finely chop or mince the garlic, onions and chillies, and stir fry before adding the paste.
I LOVE my Tom Yum Stir Fry with a bit (ok, a lot) of heat, so of course I HAVE to add some Thai Bird’s Eye Chillies to my stir fry. Omit if you want to keep the heat to the minimum. If you have lemongrass, I recommend adding it in! Be sure to bruise the lemongrass before stir frying to release its flavours.
Lime: Fresh lime juice is essential for the tangy and sour taste of Tom Yum stir fry. Easily replaceable with lemon juice. Vinegar will not quite give you the same effect, but I’ve used apple cider vinegar in a pinch, and enjoyed my dish just fine!
Fish Sauce: A common ingredient in Thai cuisine, fish sauce adds saltiness and umami to the dish. Adjust the amount according to your taste. No fish sauce or want to keep this vegetarian/vegan? Use light soy sauce, or even just salt!
Golden Mountain Sauce / Maggi Seasoning Sauce (optional): A lot of Thai dishes would include a couple dashes of golden mountain sauce to give it a bit of an extra depth of flavour. It’s similar in taste to Maggi Seasoning Sauce, and interchangeable.
Sugar: A small amount of sugar is often added to balance the flavours and counteract the spiciness.
Fresh Herbs: Cilantro as a final garnish will add so much flavour and freshness (and look!) to the dish. If you can find culantro, or Thai cilantro, even better, but even I have a hard time hunting this down. Cilantro works just fine!
How to Make Tom Yum Stir Fry
Step 1: Stir Fry Aromatics & Paste
Add oil to a pan or wok, and stir fry garlic, onions and chillies. Once fragrant, add Tom Yum Paste and a couple splashes of water to create a sauce. Stir fry to combine.
Step 2: Add Proteins
Once you have a sauce, add proteins, along with fish sauce, seasoning sauce and sugar. Stir fry to cook.
Step 3: Add Vegetables
Add vegetables of choice, and toss to combine. Once vegetables are cooked to preference, turn off the heat.
Step 4: Final Touches
With the heat turned off, immediately add lime juice and cilantro. Give it a final stir fry. Tom Yum Stir Fry is ready to serve!
How to Level This Up?
- Add more Thai Aromatics: I would also stir fry a bruised lemongrass and makrut lime leaves to boost the flavour and fragrance of this even more! This is very similar to my Tom Yum Fried Noodles recipe.
- Add Eggs: Bump up the protein factor but scrambling in an egg.
- Make it a Creamy Stir Fry: Add a splash of coconut cream or heavy cream to turn this into a deliciously creamy stir fry! Not too much, just a couple tablespoons is more than enough.
More Recipes Like This:
- Tom Yum Seafood Soup
- Tom Yum Fried Noodles
- Tom Yum Fried Rice
- Turmeric Chicken Stir Fry
- Thai Basil Stir Fry
Tom Yum Stir FryCourse: Recipes
300 grams proteins of choice:
150g shrimp, peeled and deveined
150g squid, cleaned and cut into rings
2 tbsps vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced
1-2 Thai bird’s eye chillies, minced
1 tbsp of Tom Yum Paste
- 150g Vegetables of Choice:
1/2 tomato, quartered
1/2 cup long beans, chopped
1 carrot, julienned
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp golden mountain sauce / maggi seasoning sauce (optional)
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsps lime juice
1 sprig of fresh cilantro leaves, with extra for garnish
Lime wedges for serving
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the minced garlic, onions and chillies. Stir-fry until fragrant.
- Add the tom yum paste, and couple tablespoons of water to create a sauce. Stir to combine with the aromatics for about 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add the shrimp and squid, or protein of your choice to the skillet. Season with fish sauce, seasoning sauce and sugar. Stir-fry to combine until the protein is cooked through or the shrimp turns pink.
- In the same skillet, add the tomatoes, carrots, long beans and stir-fry for a few minutes until the vegetables are slightly tender.
- Turn off the heat, and add lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir well to coat the vegetables evenly.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.