Sweet and Sour Prawn Soup
(Tom Yum Goong)
Pornpitlum Pattcha's version of this dish was made with large saltwater prawns known in Thai as goong yai. Check your local Asian market for hard-to-find ingredients. Bring 1 quart water to a boil in a large pot. Add 8 whole fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, 2 crushed cloves garlic, 1 trimmed stalk lemongrass halved lengthwise, and one 3" piece peeled fresh or frozen galangal cut crosswise into 1⁄4"-thick coins. Reduce heat to medium and cook until fragrant, 3–4 minutes. Add 5 head-on, shell-on jumbo prawns, halved lengthwise, and boil gently until just cooked through, about 30 seconds. Add 3⁄4 cup fresh lime juice, 1⁄4 cup fish sauce, 3–4 tbsp. semimoist thai palm sugar, 5 red or green thai chiles, stemmed and halved lengthwise, 2 cored and quartered plum tomatoes, and salt to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tomatoes are softened, 4–5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with 1⁄2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro. Serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice. Serves 4.