Tom Yum Teen Gai

Lee Thayer


One of the most popular soups in Thailand is Tom Yum, and the most popular with tourists is Tom Yum Goong, goong is shrimp in Thai. This is a spicy and sour soup, the name comes from 'tom' meaning the boiling of the soup, and 'yum' meaning the spicy sour aspect of it. This recipe is for Tom Yum Teen Gai, 'teen' meaning feet, and 'gai' meaning chicken. No set amounts with this, which is typical in Thai cooking, but taste and adjust seasonings as you go. This is NOT a soup for those with acid reflux.


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15 Min
1 Hr
Stove Top


  • 1-2 lb
    chicken feet, scrubbed and trimmed
  • 3-4 stalk(s)
  • 6-8 clove
    garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3-5
    shallots, peeled and quartered
  • ·
    handful fresh kaffir lime leaves
  • 20-30
    bird's eye chilies
  • 10-15
    whole cherry tomatoes, or 3-4 plum tomatoes quartered
  • 1-2
    handfuls fresh mushrooms, straw, oyster, or white crab
  • 10-15
    small limes, halved
  • ·
    salt, as needed to taste
  • ·
    msg, as needed, optional!
  • ·
    fish sauce, as needed to taste
  • ·
    sugar, as needed to taste
  • ·
    water as needed

How to Make Tom Yum Teen Gai


  1. Place the cleaned and rinsed chicken feet in a pot and add water to cover by about 2 inches. Pound the bundle of lemongrass with a pestle or the flat side of a meat tenderizer, tie the bundle into an overhand knot, add to the pot. Add the garlic, shallots, and lime leaves to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a low boil. The Tom part of the name is the boiling process, as this soup is on a low boil the entire time while cooking. Let the feet cook for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. While the feet are cooking, add the chilies to a mortar and pound them to get them all crushed, not looking for a paste, just well crushed.
  3. This will give you the idea on how many chilies to use.
  4. When the feet are good and tender, add the tomatoes, mushrooms (white crab were used in this), chilies from the mortar, and squeeze in the juice from about 5 limes (squeeze into a cupped hand, juice will go into the soup, seeds stay in your hand). Pot is still on a low boil.
  5. Stir in a spoon of sugar and a couple of splashes of fish sauce. Still boiling.
  6. Taste and adjust salt, fish sauce, lime juice, and MSG if using, to your liking. Continue to gently boil the soup and taste again about 10 minutes later and adjust as needed. Goal is sour but with the distinct spiciness from the chilies. (Here it is finally turned off and a serving bowl ladled out.)
  7. Ladle into a serving bowl and serve family style just letting people spoon out what they want.

Printable Recipe Card

About Tom Yum Teen Gai

Course/Dish: Other Soups
Main Ingredient: Chicken
Regional Style: Thai

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