Tom Yum soup usually uses prawns as the main protein but octopus works a treat as an addition or as an alternative. Octopus can turn tough if overcooked. Freezing them for a week helps tenderize them.

The soup is easily made but if Tom Yum paste is readily available, use it. Octopus can be caught wading in rock pools or freediving reefs and weed beds. They can be tickled out of their caves with a spear disconnected from the gun.

Octopus Tom Yum

Deryck Tan with Perth Octopus

Ingredient List

  • 350g (12oz) whole prawns
  • 750ml (3 cups) water
  • 125ml (0.5 cups) chicken stock
  • 3 slices galangal*
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, crushed
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
  • 2 chillies, preferably birds eye
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 octopus, cleaned and if desired, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 120g (4oz) mushrooms, preferably oyster
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • Coriander (cilantro)

* The best substitute for galangal is to use 1 tbsp fresh ginger root with 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice

Octopus Tom Yum


  1. Shell the prawns
  2. Place water and chicken stock in a pot
  3. Add prawn heads and shells, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, chilies and garlic*
  4. Simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Strain the broth
  6. Add mushrooms, tomato and onions to the broth and simmer for 4 minutes
  7. Add prawns and octopus and simmer for 1 minute
  8. Add lime juice and adjust the taste to suit
  9. Garnish with coriander
  •  If Tom Yum paste is readily available, make the soup with it according to instructions and then add the mushrooms, tomato, onion and octopus

This recipe was submitted by @deryck.gyotaku and features prominently in 99 Spearo Recipes – our crowdsourced seafood cookbook. Find this recipe and 157 others right HERE

Octopus Tom Yum

Deryck Tan is an uber talented Gyotaku, seafood cook and passionate spearo residing in Perth, Australia. Check out his Gyotaku studio and buy a copy of 99 Spearo Recipes while you’re there!


Octopus Tom Yum

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