Thai Tom Yum Marinade (BBQ Edition)

Thai Grilled Tom Yum Shrimp Recipe


For the Marinade:

  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh lemongrass, or frozen prepared lemongrass
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2-inch piece ginger, or galangal
  • 1 Thai bird red chili, or 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce, or 1 1/2 teaspoons regular soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice, more as needed
  • 3 heaping teaspoons brown sugar, more as needed
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced

For the Shrimp:

  • 12 to 18 medium to large shrimp
  • 12 to 18 small scallops, optional
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk, or heavy cream, more as needed, optional
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Place the lemongrass, garlic, ginger, chili, cilantro, fish sauce, oil, soy sauce, shrimp paste, lime juice, sugar, and onion in a mini-chopper or food processor and blend to create a smooth paste. (Or you can prepare by hand—simply mince the ingredients well and stir together.)

  3. Place shrimp and scallops, if using, in a large bowl and pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the marinade over the seafood. Mix, ensuring all the seafood is coated. Reserve any remaining marinade for the side sauce.

  4. Marinate the shrimp and scallops, if using, 10 to 12 minutes. If using wooden satay sticks, soak them in water in a shallow baking dish for 10 minutes to prevent burning.

  5. Prepare a medium (350°F to 375°F) gas or charcoal grill fire. Remove the seafood from the marinade. Pour the marinade into a small bowl. Slide the shrimp and scallops onto the prepared skewers.

  6. Grill the skewers, turning once, about 4 minutes total, or until shrimp are pink and plump and have firmed up. Baste the shrimp the first time you turn them with a little of the reserved marinade.

  7. If making the side sauce, place reserved marinade from the food processor in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer the paste for 30 seconds to 1 minute to warm through. Add the coconut milk, stirring to create a sauce. Taste-test the sauce, adding more sugar if too sour. If too spicy for your taste, add more coconut milk. If too salty, add more lime juice. Add more chili for a spicier sauce.

  8. Serve the shrimp hot off the grill garnished with cilantro and the warm coconut dipping sauce.

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