Beautiful pungent soup! Healthy and delicious.
8 oz (250 g) shrimp/prawns, shelled and deveined, with shells reserved (or swap out for chicken)
3 cups (750 ml) water
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 kaffir lime leaves
3 thin slices fresh or dried galangal (or use ginger)
1/4 cup (60 ml) fish sauce
2 stalks lemon grass, lower 1/3 portion only, cut into 1-in (2.5-cm) lengths
2 shallots, sliced
1/2 cup sliced straw mushrooms
5 red or green Thai chilli peppers, optional
1/4 cup (60 ml) lime juice
1 teaspoon chilli paste (or any Thai style chilli sauce)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
1. Rinse the prawn shells and place them in a large pot with the water. Heat to boiling, strain the broth and discard the shells.
2. Add the garlic, lime leaves, galangal, fish sauce, lemon grass and shallots to the stock, then the mushrooms and chilli peppers, if using. Cook gently for 2 minutes.
3. Add the shrimp to the soup, and reheat to boiling. When the shrimp are cooked, place the lime juice and chilli paste in a serving bowl. Pour the soup into the bowl, stir, garnish with the cilantro leaves, and serve with a small portion of rice.