Aromatic, spicy and sour, with just a touch of sweetness, this simple Thai mushroom soup made with coconut milk is a great way to use up a few mushrooms. It's inspired by my favorite Tom Yum soup and uses aromatic lime leaves, Thai curry paste and shrimp. There's lots of different ways you could make it, read on and I'll explain what you need to know.
How to Make Thai Mushroom Soup
The best version of the soup is made with shrimp stock, but if you don't want to make your own, chicken stock and peeled, deveined shrimp will work fine.
To make the shrimp stock you peel and remove the heads from 1 lb of shrimp, then cook the shells in the oven, the put in a pot with water to cover.
Next, sliced onion, crushed garlic, dried Thai chilis, lemongrass, and sliced galangal are added and the stock is cooked for 30 minutes, then the stock is strained.
After straining the shrimp stock is added to a pan of cooked mushrooms, then you add Thai curry paste, chopped tomatoes, and a can of coconut milk. I also like to add a few more fresh lime leaves and sliced galangal.
The soup is cooked for another ten-fifteen minutes and seasoned with fish sauce, sugar or maple syrup, and the shrimp are added. When the shrimp are just cooked, you add the lime juice at the last minute to taste, and serve.
A Few Thai Soup Mushrooms
You can use just about any mushrooms for this soup. In the video I use silky straw mushrooms or Volvariella, but wood ear, enoki, oyster and shiitake are great options from the store or, more likely, your local Asian grocer.
But, by far the best, and one of the most traditional mushrooms for this soup are paddy straw mushrooms (Volvariella volvacea) pictured above. They're sold in cans in just about every Asian grocer I've been too. For soup I like the small mushrooms. The larger or "medium sizes I like for curry.
Thai Mushroom Soup with Coconut Milk and Shrimp
- 1 Small soup pot
- 1 paring knife for cleaning shrimp
- 1 lb head on shrimp or ½ lb peeled and deveined shrimp
- 6-8 Kaffir lime leaves
- ½ oz galangal sliced, with a slice or two removed for the finished soup.
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed with the back of a knife
- 2 thai chilis or to taste
- 2 tablespoons Thai curry paste to taste
- 1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes.
- 6 oz mushrooms
- 2-3 tablespoons lime juice to taste
- ½ stalk of lemon grass bruised with a knife
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or sugar
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce or to taste
- 2 handfuls chopped watercress or baby spinach optional
- 1 12oz can of coconut milk
- Trim the shrimp, reserving the heads and shells. Reserve a ½ inch slice of galangal and a few lime leaves for finishing the soup.
- Roast the heads and shells for 15 minutes at 350, then add to a pot with the onion, lime leaves, garlic, lemongrass and galangal. Add 3 cups of water, bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Strain the stock and reserve.
- Add the mushrooms, reserved lime leaves and galangal to the shrimp stock (you should have about 1.5 cups), along with the remaining ingredients except the lime juice, bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Season the mixture until it tastes good to you. When the soup tastes good, add the shrimp and heat through for about 3 minutes, trying not to overcook them.
- Add the spinach or watercress if using and heat just to wilt.
- When they’re done, stir in the lime juice, double check the seasoning for salt and lime one last time, adjust as needed, and serve.