6 cups vegetable broth or water
2-3 kaffir lime leaves (can be purchased at most Asian food stores), OR 1/2 tsp. lime zest
2 stalks lemongrass, minced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 fresh red chili, minced, OR 1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce, OR 1/2 to 3/4 tsp. dried crushed chili OR cayenne pepper
generous handful of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
12 medium to large shrimp, shells removed
generous handful of fresh basil
optional: any other vegetables of your choice ie: 1 handful of broccoli, cherry tomatoes, baby bok choy, asparagus
optional: 1 package of rice noodles
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup fresh coriander/cilantro
Place stock in a large pot over high heat. Add the minced lemongrass (and leftover lemongrass stalks, if using fresh lemongrass), plus lime leaves. Bring to a boil.
When soup reaches a bubbling boil, add optional rice noodles and reduce heat to medium, or until you get a nice simmer. Add the garlic, ginger, chili, mushrooms, lime juice, fish sauce and soy sauce. Stir well and simmer 3 minutes.
Add the shrimp plus other vegetables, if using. Simmer until shrimp are pink and plump (about 3 minutes).
Reduce heat to medium-low and taste-test the soup, looking for a balance of salty, sour, and spicy. If not salty or flavorful enough, add 1 Tbsp. more fish sauce OR soy sauce. If too sour, add more sugar. If too salty, add another squeeze of lime juice.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with a generous sprinkling of fresh coriander. ENJOY!
TJ’s seafood on Elm St. in Kitchener is a great local seafood store with lots of fresh shrimp (and the BEST cold smoked salmon EVER).
Jolene Beilstein, RMT