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Hot And Sour Shrimp Soup

By upbringing, I'm thrifty. If you looked in my freezer, you'd find bags of shrimp shells tucked among the bags of Chinese sausage, barbecued pork, and noodles. I save the shells every time I clean shrimp, because they give a fresh-from-the-sea flavor to fish stock; they're essential to this fragrant Thai soup.

Type: Fish, Shellfish
Courses: Soup
Serves: 4 people

Recipe Ingredients

1/2 lb 227g / 8ozMediun raw shrimp
1 tablespoon 15mlVegetable oil
5 cups 1185mlChicken broth
2   Lemongrass stalks - cut 2" pieces,
  And crushed
  Peel of 1/2 lime
1   Serrano or jalapeño chile - cut in half
1/2 cup 118mlCanned straw mushrooms
2 1/2 tablespoons 37mlFresh lime juice
1 tablespoon 15mlFish sauce
2   Green onions, including tops - thinly sliced
2 tablespoons 30mlCoarsely-chopped cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons 22mlCoarsely-chopped mint leaves
1   Serrano or jalapeño chile - seeded, slivered

Recipe Instructions

Shell the shrimp, rinse the shells, and pat them dry. Cut the shrimp in half horizontally and rinse out the sand veins.

Place a large pot over high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat the surface. Add the shrimp shells; cook until they turn pink, about 30 seconds. Add the broth, lemongrass, lime peel, and chile. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the broth, discarding the seasonings. Return the broth to the pot and heat to simmering. Add the shrimp and straw mushrooms and cook until the shrimp turn pink, about 2 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and fish sauce. To serve, ladle into individual soup bowls. Garnish with green onion, cilantro, mint leaves, and chile.

This recipe yields 4 servings.

Tip: If you want to grow your own lemongrass, root several fresh stalks in a jar of water, just as you would a geranium cutting. Plant them in a large pot, leaving room for them to spread. They can stand light frosts, but not cold winters.

Everybody's Wokking by Martin Yan, (Harlow & Ratner, 1991)


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