I used lemon grass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves. The galangal is similar to ginger. I tore the lime leaves and sliced the galangal. Lemon grass can be purchased in fresh stalks, but it is much easier to buy it already minced and keep it in the freezer. The lime leaves and galangal can be kept frozen also.
These are straw mushrooms. I am not a big fan of mushrooms, and I thought fresh might be better, but Gil and Zac really liked them. They are actually very cute and look like something out of a fairy tale.
This is the tamarind paste. It is made from the fruit of the tamarind tree. Hmmmm... I'm being very trusting with some of these ingredients.
I combined several recipes and this is what I came up with:
Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup
1 quart chicken broth
2 tbsp dried lemon grass
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves, torn in half
1-2 inch piece fresh galangal
dash red pepper flakes
2 small Thai chilis, halved lengthwise (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cans coconut milk
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp fish sauce - Golden Boy brand recommended (optional!)
1-15 ounce can straw mushrooms (or your choice of fresh)
1 lb raw shrimp, unpeeled
Cook shrimp in boiling water until done, about 5 minutes. Peel.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves, sliced galangal, chilies, pepper flakes, and garlic. Cover and simmer gently for about 15 minutes to let the flavors infuse. Strain and pour broth back into the soup pot. Add coconut milk, optional fish sauce, mushrooms, tamarind paste, lime juice, and cooked shrimp. Heat through for about 5 minutes.
Yield: About 6 servings
I bought these great black bowls, spoons, and napkin rings at World Market. They have a nice selection of Asian dishes and serving pieces. The placemat came from Pier One.