Make this: Kiin's tom yum soup

Seriously fiery and full of flavour, tom yum soup is one of the best-known Thai exports for a reason — Nuit Regular shares her recipe from cookbook Kiin.

Kiin by Nuit Regular | Tom yum soup

Serves 2

Preparation time 1 hour

Cooking time 30 minutes

Cozy winter home cooking hits a little different after a calendar year of on-off indoor dwelling — but, all things considered, we don’t think we’ve ever needed a good cookbook more than we do in 2021. (And if you're looking for more cookbook inspiration for every occasion, click here.) Luckily for us, one beloved Toronto chef put pen to paper last year and created some hibernation salvation for us.

Kiin by Nuit Regular: Recipes and Stories from Northern Thailand

Nuit Regular has been bringing northern Thai food to the people of Toronto since Sukhothai first opened in 2008. In 2020, the beloved chef gifted us once again by pulling back the curtain on some of her best recipes in her first cookbook, Kiin ($38). Meaning ‘eat’ in Thai, and named after her Adelaide Street restaurant, the cookbook contains 120 recipes that take us on a journey across northern Thailand. Colourful plates of panang beef curry, tom yum soup and BBQ pork provide some much-needed escapism.

Feeling spicy? For more warming bowls, check out our roundup of the best pho in the city.

To buy Kiin by Nuit Regular, head to


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, lightly bruised and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 thin slices galangal
  • 9 unpeeled Thai garlic cloves (or 3 peeled regular garlic cloves), lightly bruised
  • 3 medium shallots, cut in half and lightly bruised
  • Fresh magrud lime leaves 
  • ⅓ cup Tom Yum Paste
  • 10 fresh or thawed frozen medium shrimp (size 21–25), peeled, deveined and cut in half lengthwise
  • 6 oz oyster mushrooms, roots cut off, torn in half lengthwise
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon Tamarind Paste or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon Thai cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 stalk fresh sawtooth coriander, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 to 3 fresh bird’s eye chilies, lightly bruised

For the tamarind paste:

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup seedless sour tamarind (dried or block)

For the tom yum paste:

  • ¼ cup large dried shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon + ¼ cup sunflower oil, divided
  • 3 to 5 large dried red spur chilies
  • 3 tablespoons unpeeled Thai garlic cloves or thinly sliced peeled regular garlic
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Tamarind Paste or store-bought
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar


  1. In a medium pot over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. When the water is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and add the lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallots, and lime leaves. Boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the tom yum paste and boil for another 5 minutes.
  2. Without stirring, add the shrimp, oyster mushrooms, and tomatoes. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Make sure to wait until the shrimp have had a chance to cook before stirring.
  3. Stir in the tamarind paste and cane sugar and cook for another minute. Stir in the fish sauce and lime juice. Remove from the heat. Stir in the cilantro, green onions, sawtooth coriander, and chilies. Ladle into bowls and serve.

For the tamarind paste:

  1. In a small saucepan over high heat, bring the water to a rolling boil. Break the tamarind into small pieces and drop them into the boiling water. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. The heat breaks down the tamarind pulp and makes it easier to separate the fibres. If using dried tamarind, it will start to expand. If using a tamarind block, it will absorb the water and start to soften.
  2. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve placed over a large bowl, pressing out every bit of liquid and paste. I recommend using a large bowl to help minimize the mess. Make sure to scrape the paste off the bottom of the sieve and mix it into the liquid. Discard the pulp in the sieve. Allow to cool before using. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

For the tom yum paste:

  1. In a small food processor, pulse the dried shrimp until they look stringy, almost like floss. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the sunflower oil. Add the chilies and cook until the chilies turn dark red and the skin starts to plump up and looks smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the chilies to a stone mortar and pestle. (Alternatively, you can use a small food processor.)
  3. Return the pan to medium heat. Add the remaining ¼ cup sunflower oil and heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until cooked but not crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. The shallots will start to look transparent. Remove from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic and shallots to the mortar with the chilies. Leave the oil in the pan.
  4. Pound the garlic and shallots to a fine paste. Add the paprika and pound to mix.
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and allow the sunflower oil to heat up for 1 minute. Scoop the paste out of the mortar, add to the oil, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp floss, tamarind paste, and coconut sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the sugar is fully dissolved for 1 to 2 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.