If you’re looking for the ultimate flavor-bomb, look no further than this Thai hot & sour soup – the chili, lime, fish sauce and coconut sugar will hit all your tastebuds!
Thai hot & sour soup, also called Tom Yum, is a salty, sweet, spicy and tangy soup made with a clear broth infused with tons of high impact flavors. The soup is packed with noodles and your protein of choice, but manages to feel light and refreshing, leaving you coming back for more!
I was originally thinking of making this as an Asian inspired chicken noodle soup but, when I got to my local H Mart (if you live by one, go NOW you will thank me later) I came across these gorgeous mussels and knew they were going to be part of this dish. Mussels can be a bit intimidating at first but I absolutely love them, and it’s great to have another protein option for meals!
They soak up the zesty broth and the light, salty flavor of the mussels pairs perfectly with the sour and spicy broth. When you’re buying mussels, you want most of them to still be closed firmly. If any are slightly open, you can check if they are still fresh by giving the shell a firm tap. If the shell closes after you tap it, it’s good to go! If not, throw that one away.
This recipe is light, fresh and flavorful, and for a dish that packs such a punch it really comes together very quickly and easily. You can easily store the broth in the fridge and just cook up some fresh noodles throughout the week whenever you want a delicious meal! It’s also really easy to customize this soup to your liking by swapping the protein out for a protein of your choosing, adjusting the spice level or adding in other fresh vegetables and herbs.
Thai Hot & Sour Soup Ingredients
- Mussels: This is the first time that I really tried mussels and I would highly recommend you give them a go – they are high in omega-3’s, a rich source of vitamins B and C, and are an excellent source of lean protein.
- Thai Chilis: There actually isn’t a single type of Thai chilis but almost 80 different varieties! With so many different colors, flavors and spice levels you’re sure to be able to find some that suit your palette.
- Fish Sauce: This gives the broth that unmistakable ‘seafood’ flavor, with a salty and savory kick. If you don’t have any fish sauce on hand you could replace it with some soy sauce or oyster sauce. You only need a small amount of this, but if you love eating Asian dishes like I do then you’ll find yourself using it all the time!
- Coconut Sugar: This is a natural sugar made from coconut palm sap, which is widely used in South East Asian cuisine. If you can’t find any near you then you could swap it out for regular brown sugar.
- Udon Noodles: Hot & sour soup traditionally is served with rice noodles or egg noodles, but I love the chewy texture of Japanese Udon noodles, and they cook so quickly! For an incredibly light meal or appetizer you could choose to omit the noodles entirely and just focus on the protein and the punchy broth.
(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.)
- Broth: Boil chicken broth, chilis, water, lemongrass, ginger and salt for 15 minutes. Strain then add in fish sauce, lime juice and sugar. Taste and adjust!
- Noodles: Bring the broth back up to a boil then boil your noodles straight in the broth as per the package instructions.
- Mussels: While the noodles are cooking, simmer the garlic in butter until fragrant in a separate pot, then add your mussels and a cup of water, cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until the shells have opened.
- Serve: Add the mussels to the soup and serve topped with fresh leek and lime.
How to Clean and Debeard Mussels
- Remove any sand or grit: Start by running the mussels under cold water and pulling off any sand, dirt or debris. Discard any mussels that are open or have cracked shells.
- Debeard: “Beard” (that’s the hair-like fibers that grow on and around mussel shells). There will usually be a string of these fibers coming out from the inside of the shell, just grab the end of it and pull, and you should be able to pull it out of the shell. You can also use a small knife or scissors to cut off the “beard.”
- Scrub: Scrub the mussels gently with a stiff brush to remove any remaining dirt or debris.
- Pat Dry: Placed the cleaned mussels on paper towels and pat dry before cooking.
- Low carb: As a low carb swap for the Udon noodles, you can spiralize zucchini and pan fry until softened or use tofu, shirataki or sweet potato noodles. The cooking time will vary depending on what you choose so just cook the noodles per the packet instructions.
- Vegan: Swap the fish sauce for soy sauce or coconut aminos, use vegetable broth and swap the mussels out for tofu. To fry up the garlic for the mussels you can either use a dairy-free butter like earth balance or swap it for some olive oil.
- Shellfish allergy: Fish sauce contains shellfish, so swap that out for a vegan fish sauce, or soy sauce, and swap the mussels out for your favorite protein. Chicken and tofu work really well!
- 1 inch fresh ginger grated
- 2 Thai chilis
- 1 lemongrass stalk (thinly sliced)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 leek
- 1 serving of Japanese Udon noodles(I used about a fistfull)
- The juice of 2 limes
- 1 leek, thinly chopped
- 2 tbs. fish sauce
- 2 tbs. coconut sugar
- About 6-8 mussels (or meat/tofu of your choosing)
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- In a large pot, add the chicken broth, diced chilies, water, lemongrass, ginger and salt and bring to a boil. Cook for 15 min.
- Strain the broth and return to the heat.
- Add the fish sauce, lime juice and coconut sugar (make sure to taste here to make sure your fish sauce to sugar ratio is to your liking).
- Bring the soup to a boil and add the noodles and cook per package instructions.
- In the meantime, add 1 tbs. earth balance butter to a medium-sized pan along with the minced garlic and heat over a medium-high temp. Add the mussels (be sure to rinse them off first to get rid of the grit) and about a cup of water and immediately cover with a lid.
- Cook for about 5 minutes or until all of the shells have opened.
- Add the mussels to the soup and serve immediately topped with the fresh leeks and a lime wedge.
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