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Tom yum goong (hot and sour soup with shrimp)

March 25, 2009

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Serves 4

Great Thai food relies on fresh ingredients. Kaffir lime leaf, culantro, galangal, fish sauce, and chili-bean paste are available at Asian markets. Some of the ingredients - lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaf - are for flavoring only; they're not eaten. Typical Thai table condiments such as sugar, fish sauce, dried crushed chilies, and vinegar allow diners to adjust the four main flavors: sweet, salty, hot, and sour. If you like, substitute boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/4-inch slices, for the shrimp.

8 stalks culantro (or cilantro, with stems), finely sliced
16 Chinese chives (or green parts of scallions), finely sliced
1 Thai bird chili pepper, finely chopped
4 stalks lemongrass, tough outer leaves and tops removed, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 plum tomatoes, cut into eighths
2 large knobs galangal or fresh ginger (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch rounds
4 ounces oyster or shiitake mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
16 kaffir lime leaves (or pared rind of 1 lime), roughly torn into quarters
1 tablespoon lime juice, plus extra lime wedges
2 tablespoons chili-bean paste
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the culantro or cilantro, chives or scallions, chili, lemongrass, tomatoes, galangal or ginger, oyster or shiitake mushrooms, kaffir lime leaves or lime rind, lime juice, chili-bean paste, and fish sauce. Add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes.

2. Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes more or until they are cooked through. Taste for seasoning and add more lime juice or fish sauce, if you like.

3. Ladle into bowls. Pass with extra lime wedges. Adapted from Silom Thai Cooking School