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Tom Yum Fried Rice

Tom yum is a popular sour and spicy soup that you can easily find in Thai restaurants all over the world. Galangal, lemongrass, and makrut lime leaves are what give this soup its fragrant and distinct aroma.

With this fried rice version, we use all the aromatics that are used in tom yum soup and turn it into a punchy rice dish that is perfect for lunch or dinner. Feel free to substitute shrimp for any seafood or poultry that you prefer, or make a vegetarian version of this dish and add your favorite seasonal vegetables.

In Thai cooking, the herbs are typically left in the dishes even if they are not supposed to be eaten, so remember to avoid the galangal, lemongrass, and makrut lime leaves when you take a bite. The herbs are added in thin slices, and would still give you quite a pungent mouthful if you chewed on it.


  • 3 makrut lime leaves

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 inches galangal, sliced

  • 3 inches lemongrass stalk, sliced

  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced

  • 10 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 3/4 cups cooked rice

  • 1 tomato, chopped

  • 1 to 2 Thai chiles (to taste)

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon chili paste

Steps to Make It

1. Gather the ingredients.

2. Remove the stems from the makrut lime leaves by folding the leaves lengthwise and peeling away the stems.

3. Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves. Stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

4. Add the mushrooms and shrimp to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

5. Add the rice and tomatoes to the pan, stirring to combine.

6. Add the chili, lime juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and chili paste. Stir well until the chili paste coats the rice. The shrimp should be cooked through.


  • Use day-old rice for fried rice recipes. Rice chilled for a day or two is usually dryer and harder than freshly cooked rice. The rice will hold up better when stir-fried and cooked with other juicy ingredients.

  • Or, if you are in a hurry, cook the rice, spread it onto a baking sheet, and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or freeze for 10-15 minutes) until thoroughly chilled but not frozen.

Recipe Variations

  • Feel free to season this dish as you like by adding more lime juice or chili as you prefer.

  • Fresh ginger can be swapped for the galangal if needed.

  • Swap the shrimp for chopped fish fillets or scallops or replace with diced white meat chicken.

What Does Tom Yum Taste Like? Tom yum is tart, spicy, and salty, with a slight sweetness to balance out the dish. The soup is creamy and full of aromatic flavor. This fried rice version has all of the flavors of tom yum in a different, fun to eat form.

What Is the Secret Ingredient in Fried Rice? The key to great fried rice is a not-so-secret ingredient: rice. For fried rice with the best texture, use day-old, cold rice. Freshly-made rice has too much moisture and will make the mixture gummy. Flavorful sauces like soy sauce and fish sauce add a nice burst of umami.

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