Hot and sour soup

Nigella Lawson reveals her cure-all hot and sour soup recipe - whether it's a hangover or a cold, this healthy soup recipe will bring fire to a jaded soul
By Nigella Lawson
Hot and sour soup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4-6
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 1.5 litres chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp tom yum paste
  • 4 lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 sticks lemongrass, tender inner part only, roughly chopped
  • 1 limes, juice only
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 small red chillies, or green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 150 g straw mushrooms, or button mushrooms, halved or quartered according to size
  • 500 g prawns, raw and peeled, thawed if frozen
  • 5 small spring onions, cut into short lengths and then into strips
  • 1 bunches coriander, chopped

Tips and Suggestions

I know that for some people, nothing feels more restoring than something warm and unchallengingly bland but when it's succour and sustenance I need, it's spice that I want. This soup, tom yam-the culinary equivalent of Friar's Balsam, clears the tubes and brings fire to the jaded soul. And there's nothing like a bit of searing heat to push away any hungover seediness. It's good for those days when you're thick with cold, too.

It's easy to throw together, as well: the chicken stock I make out of boiling water and bouillon concentrate, and the tom yam paste is sold now at most supermarkets, along with the other ingredients, too.


1. Heat the stock and tom yam paste in a saucepan with the lime leaves, lemon grass, lime juice, fish sauce, chillies and sugar. Add the bay leaf and thyme.

2. Bring to the boil, add the mushrooms and simmer for a couple of minutes, then add the prawns and spring onions and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, or until the prawns are cooked but still tender.

3. Sprinkle with a little coriander and put more on the table for people to add themselves as they want.

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