Minimalist Tom Yum (Coconut Lemon) Soup

While I have loads to share from my Ottawa trip, I feel like its been far too long since I’ve shared a piece of my kitchen with you. Today’s recipe can be prepared with chicken or tofu depending on your dietary preferences. I think of it as minimalist not because it lacks ingredients (in fact I added some veggies to the dish as I’m known to do) but because it lacks some of the key ingredients of Thai cooking such as Thai basil, green onions, lime leaves and fresh chili peppers. While these items are all readily available and quite affordable in my city, I recognize that this isn’t the case for everyone. So rather than popping out to my local Asian grocery store, I made due with what I had on hand and whipped up a satisfying and simple Tom Yum-esque soup.


  • coconut or other high heat oil for frying
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, sliced into thin strips then halved
  • 1 carrot, sliced into thin circles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp siracha
  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, diced OR 1/2-3/4 block silken tofu, cut into cubes.
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 green pepper, sliced into thin strips an halved
  • 1/4 zucchini (I used yellow) sliced into thin circles then halved
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk
  • 1 lemon, zested & squeezed for juice.
  1. Begin with a medium-large pot set on medium heat. Sautee onion, carrot and garlic in a little oil until fragrant. Add siracha and stir till combined.
  2. Add chicken pieces (if using) and cook until slightly brown on all sides, about 4-5 minutes. If using silken tofu, skip this step.
  3. Add mushrooms, peppers and zucchini to the mix along with lemon zest, 2 tbsp fish sauce and 2 tbsp water. Stir frequently for about 2 min or until vegetables have softened.
  4. Add the broth, lemon juice and coconut milk then heat until just boiling. If using silken tofu, add it now.
  5. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes to combine flavours. Taste an adjust seasonings as needed.
Optional: serve topped with raw vegetables such as spinach, sprouts an sliced cherry tomatoes. 
What’s your favourite Thai dish? Do you ever attempt to make it for yourself?
Hope you’re making the most of your day! I’m off to a hot date with my book, a treestump and this sunny afternoon. 
Leave a comment


  1. Anything coconut is a winner in my book, this looks really good 🙂

  2. jemufo

     /  August 23, 2011

    dear healthy hipster, tom yam doesn’t usually have coconut milk in it. 😉

  3. meg

     /  August 23, 2011

    I want to have a hot date with a book a tree stump and a sunny afternoon! Funemployment envy!


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