Authentic & Tantalizing Tom Yum Mee Hoon
Tom Yum Mee Hoon, or Tom Yum with Rice Vermicelli Noodles, is sour, mildly spicy, and very creamy. The noodles are al-dente in every bite. Usually prepared with seafood such as squid, prawns and clams, it’s the most famous and authentic Thai dish that makes my family salivate at the dinner table on special occasions.
Although this Tom Yum Mee Hoon is one of the recipes that has slightly more preparation and steps, the final result is worth it. You will be rewarded with a perfectly balanced dish that is sweet, tangy, and super appetising in every bite.
Originated from Central Thailand, Tom Yum is usually served on very special occasions as it contains lots of ingredients. As it is the main star of the dining table, it is usually enjoyed with plain, fluffy white rice. This Tom Yum Mee Hoon has been slightly modified to be special on a smaller scale to enjoy with rice vermicelli noodles. Enjoy 😀
Tom Yum Mee Hoon Recipe
The most important ingredient is Tom Yum Paste, preferably with some oil at the top. The oil is steeped in all of the Tom Yum Paste’s herbs’ fragrance and flavour – so do not skip it if possible! It can be found floating above the Tom Yum Paste. It can be scooped up and used in cooking for flavour and fragrance.
For protein, Tom Yum Mee Hoon is usually cooked with seafood such as squid, prawns and clams. Chicken and pork, although rare in a traditional Tom Yum, works well too.
Sweet and crunchy vegetables with minimal water retention are the best for fibre. I used Shimeiji mushrooms and Chinese cabbage stems, but other vegetables any mushrooms, cauliflower or baby corn works too. Legumes (beans) and broccoli are not recommended, as their flavour clashes with the Tom Yum Mee Hoon’s taste.
Next, the herbs. To intensify the fragrance of Tom Yum in our noodle soup, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, cilantro or Chinese Parsley, are added. The amount of bird’s eye chillies can vary depending on your spicy tolerance.
If any of the herbs, fresh or dried, are not available, it’s best to omit them. Dried herbs are not as potent as fresh ones, so although dried herbs can be used, the fragrance of the Tom Yum will not be as strong and powerful as when using fresh herbs.
Fresh lime juice and fish sauce are the seasonings that greatly impact the taste. These introduce sourness and saltiness to the Tom Yum Mee Hoon soup. They can be adjusted according to the levels of sourness and saltiness that you prefer. Remember, our Tom Yum Mee Hoon is supposed to be strongly sour and mildly spicy; light on the saltiness and sweetness. If it is too sour or too spicy to enjoy, more sugar can be added to mellow the taste.
Evaporated milk is added at the very end for the creaminess of the soup. It is an optional ingredient, but it will be an amazing addition.
Lastly, for the mee hoon, or rice vermicelli, I used the dried version. Different brands result in different firmness of the noodles after cooking. I personally prefer firmer noodles to enjoy with my Tom Yum; so I would recommend getting this Vietnamese brand or this Thai brand.
Apart from a non-stick pan and a silicone spatula, a saucepan is used to boil water to pre-cook the mee hoon.
A heat-proof colander and basin underneath make it easier to strain the mee hoon later; however, a large strainer works as well.
Pre-cook the mee hoon. This makes it just cooked when we pour the soup over. Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil at medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.
While the water is boiling, make the Tom Yum Seafood Soup. Boil 700ml of water, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots and sprinkle half of the salt for 2-3 minutes, or until aromatic.
Marinate the squid with a quarter of the salt, and repeat with the prawns. Make sure to rub them all evenly. Set them aside.
Now our water is boiling. Switch off the heat. In a heat-resistant bowl, pour the boiling water over the mee hoon and cover it for 1 minute. This makes the noodles almost cooked so it will continue cooking once the Tom Yum gravy is poured over.
After 1 minute, drain the water. Make sure to toss the mee hoon to remove excess water, and place the desired amount into serving bowls. Set it aside.
Back to our herb gravy, it’s boiling vigorously now. Add 2 tablespoons of the Tom Yum Paste and stir until fully dissolved. Let it continue boiling for 30 seconds.
While waiting, wash the Shimeiji mushrooms, and immediately add them into the soup, together with the Chinese cabbage stems, squid, sugar, and half of the fish sauce. Let them simmer together for 1.5 minutes.
These ingredients tend to cook about a minute longer than the rest. Other ingredients like pieces of fish, oyster mushrooms, cauliflower and baby corn should be added at this stage. Please note that mushrooms should always be cooked within a minute of washing, otherwise, they will develop a slimy exterior, which affects the texture of the food.
Next, stir in the tomatoes and chillies as we want them to be just cooked. Adding the chillies now also releases a little of the spiciness. Let it simmer for about 1.5 minutes.
Then, add the rest of the seafood: Lala clams and prawns. These take only 1.5 minutes to cook in vigorous boiling soup, so they are added in last.
Taste the Tom Yum Mee Hoon Soup and adjust to your preference. Now we can switch off the heat. Immerse the Chinese cabbage leaves, spring onions and Chinese parsley into the gravy to soften them. Other leafy parts should be added at this stage.
Pour the lime juice and half of the Tom Yum Paste oil over the gravy for sourness and an extra bit of flavour. Stir them into the gravy and taste it once more. The gravy should be sour and tangy, with a little spiciness before mellowing down into saltiness and sweetness. This Tom Yum Mee Hoon is bold and strong on flavours.
To adjust the taste, add the fish sauce for more saltiness, and sugar for sweetness. Thai people generally mellow out sourness and spiciness with sweetness, and saltiness with sourness.
Now we can assemble. Scoop big spoonfuls of the Tom Yum soup and pour over the mee hoon until just submerged. Arrange the vegetables and seafood to your preference.
Lastly, drizzle 1 tablespoon of evaporated milk for added creaminess and body, and the rest of the Tom Yum Paste oil for the last bit of fragrance. Garnish with chopped spring onions and cilantro leaves.
I avoid adding more evaporated milk as it can overpower the subtle complexity of the Tom Yum Mee Hoon gravy. However, if a heavier body soup is preferred, about 1 more tablespoon can be added.
Serve immediately to enjoy before the mee hoon soaks up too much of the gravy.
Best Served with
This Tom Yum Mee Hoon dish has a distinctive blend of herbal fragrance, with a trace of creaminess. The gravy is sour, with a slight heat that melts into the perfect salty-sweet flavour.
The seafood is cooked just right, while the vegetables are soft and soaked up the gravy so well. The mee hoon itself is al-dente and carries its Tom Yum gravy so well.
As this dish is very strong in flavour, it is a perfect meal on its own.
Once the mee hoon has been soaked in the Tom Yum gravy, it should be consumed as soon as possible. This is because mee hoon tends to soak up a lot of the gravy and soup, making it soggy in texture and reducing the Tom Yum gravy.
At room temperature, both the mee hoon and Tom Yum gravy can be kept covered in air-tight containers separately for a day. When ready to eat, simply assemble and drizzle the evaporated milk.
It is not recommended to store the Tom Yum beyond a day as the taste will run the next day.
Tom Yum Mee Hoon
- Silicone Spatula
- Food Tongs
- 80 g dried mee hoon, soaked for 20 minutes in water
- 90 g Lala clams, Asian soft-shell clams
- 120 g prawns, deveined, shells cut open on the back
- 50 g squid rings, cut into half
- 50 g Shimeji mushrooms
- 1 lemongrass, cut into 2 inches in length and smashed lightly
- 2 shallots, peeled
- 4 pieces birds eye chilli, mixed, cut into half
- 5 slices galangal, sliced thinly
- 3 pieces kaffir lime leaves
- 1 stalk spring onions, cut to 1 inch length
- 1 stalk cilantro, chopped roughly
- 1 tbsp evaporated milk
- 2 leaves Chinese cabbage, the stems cut into strips and leaves into large chunks and separated
- 700 ml water
- 3 tbsp tom yum paste
- 1/2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tomato
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Bring a saucepan of water to a rolling boil for medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer the mee hoon to a heat-resistant bowl. Pour the boiling water into the mee hoon. Cover the bowl and let it soak for 1 minute. Drain the water and toss the mee hoon to drain excess water. Put in a serving bowl and set it aside.
- In a covered wok over medium heat, boil 700ml of water, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, shallots, and half of the salt for 2-3 minutes, or until aromatic.
- Marinate the squid with half of the salt evenly. Repeat with the prawns. Set them aside.
- Add 2 tbsp of tom yum paste to the herb gravy and stir until fully dissolved. Continue to boil for 30 seconds.
- Wash the Shimeiji mushrooms. Stir in the Shimeiji mushrooms, Chinese cabbage stems, squid, sugar and half of the fish sauce. Continue to cook for 1.5 minutes. Then, stir in the tomatoes and chillies. Cook the Tom Yum gravy for another 1.5 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked.
- Add the lala clams and prawns. Stir them into the gravy. Let them cook for 1.5 minutes, or until the clams have opened and the prawns have changed colour.
- Taste and adjust as preferred. Switch off the heat.
- Stir to submerge the Chinese cabbage leaves, spring onions and cilantro into the Tom yum gravy.
- Pour the lime juice and half of the Tom yum paste oil. Stir until well-combined.
- Taste and adjust as preferred.
- Scoop and pour the Tom yum gravy into the serving bowl. Arrange the vegetables, prawns and lala clams and squid on the mee hoon.
- Drizzle 1 tbsp of evaporated milk. Garnish with chopped spring onions, cilantro leaves and the rest of the Tom yum paste oil.
- Serve immediately.
- During the tasting, more fish sauce can be added for saltiness. If it is too sour or spicy, more sugar can be added.
- Tom Yum paste oil can be scooped up from the Tom Yum paste bottle. Otherwise, it can be omitted as it’s added for fragrance.
- Many of the herbs contribute to the fragrance and taste of the Tom Yum and are not easily substituted. If they are not available, they can be omitted.
- Mushrooms should be washed right before cooking. If they have come in contact with water beforehand, the mushrooms will turn slimy.
- More evaporated milk can be added according to preference.