Fragrant with lime juice and lemongrass, this hot and sour soup is based on a recipe from our friend Nancie McDermott, author of Real Thai (Chronicle Books, 1992).
Tom Yum Goong (Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup)
Fragrant with lime juice and lemongrass, this hot and sour soup adds chiles at the end of cooking, making it easily regulated per diner's spice tolerance.
3 large stalks fresh lemongrass
4 chicken stock
12 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves
1 cup canned straw mushrooms, drained
2-4 tbsp. roasted Thai chile paste (nam prik pao)
8 oz. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1⁄2 tbsp. fish sauce
4-6 Thai chiles, stemmed and smashed with side of a knife
3 scallions, cut into 1" lengths
Juice of 1 lime
2 cups cooked rice (optional)
Trim tip and root ends of lemongrass stalks and remove and discard tough outer layer. Using a meat mallet or the side of a knife, smash lemongrass to flatten it; tie stalks into a knot; set aside. Pour stock into a 2-qt. saucepan and bring to a boil. Add lemongrass and half the lime leaves, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Remove and discard lemongrass and lime leaves and increase heat to high. Stir in mushrooms and chile paste, to taste, and boil for 1 minute; add shrimp and fish sauce and cook until shrimp are just cooked through, about 45 seconds. Combine remaining lime leaves with chiles, scallions, and lime juice in a serving bowl or tureen. Pour soup into serving bowl, stir, and serve with rice, if you like.