Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup
This traditional Thai soup is a favorite of Su-Mei Yu, chef and owner of Saffron restaurant in San Diego. Serve it with basmati or Thai jasmine rice. Serrano and de arbol chiles, galangal, lemongrass, cilantro roots, kaffir-lime leaves, and nam pla can be found in Asian markets and specialty-food stores.
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- 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6 dried de arbol chiles
- 4 cups <u>Su Mei's Chicken Stock</u>
- 1 half-inch piece galangal or 1-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced and lightly crushed
- 3 stalks lemongrass, green parts and hard outer layers removed, sliced in half lengthwise, and lightly bruised
- 3 cilantro roots or 10 stems, rinsed well
- 6 kaffir-lime leaves, torn, or zest of 1 lime, removed with a peeler in strips and julienned
- 5 to 6 fresh bird or serrano chiles, lightly crushed, or more to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons nam pla
- 1 fifteen-ounce can straw mushrooms, rinsed and patted dry, or 1 cup fresh oyster mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 tablespoon <u>Roasted Chiles in Oil</u>
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
- Peel and devein shrimp, reserving 10 shells. Rinse shrimp, pat dry, and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat oil over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add dried chiles and reserved shrimp shells, and cook, stirring, until chiles turn black and shells turn pink, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chiles and shells to a square of cheesecloth. Tie securely with kitchen twine, and return to saucepan.
- Add stock, and bring to a boil. Add galangal, lemongrass, cilantro roots or stems, kaffir-lime leaves, and fresh chiles. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and let spices infuse the stock for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Stir in salt and fish sauce. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Add mushrooms, raise heat to high, and boil for 10 minutes.
- Remove cheesecloth pouch, lemongrass, and kaffir-lime leaves; discard. Add shrimp, and cook just until pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add roasted chiles in oil. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. Remove from heat, and stir in lime juice. Taste again; there should be an equal balance of spicy, salty, and sour flavors. Garnish with cilantro, and serve immediately.
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